On June 4, Kingsland School Board held a monthly work session meeting in the elementary conference room. Board members present included Doug Plaehn, Leah Stier, Jackie Horsman, Tiffany Mundfrom, Heather Betts, and Superintendent James Hecimovich). Ann Oeltjen was absent.
The board discussed planning to sell the former school bus garage in Wykoff. There is concern that the building and the ground underneath may be contaminated, due to the gasoline and various liquids that may have leaked over the years in the bus garage. The board discussed looking into the possibility of selling the building “as is,” if this is legal and appropriate. It was noted that if the bus garage were to be bought and turned into storage units, for example, soil quality probably wouldn’t be an issue.
Business Manager Amber Herbrand gave a budgetary summary. She said revenues for this fiscal year are roughly $5.37 million, which is just about $19,000 less than last year at this point. Expenditures are running slightly ahead of last year’s numbers.
John Dols said Kingsland is approved for 9-man football, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. He also summarized the extensive Longterm Facility Maintenance (LTFM) projects that are scheduled to begin almost immediately after graduation one year from now.
The board discussed at length various ideas of how to proceed now that the facility referendum was voted down. Plaehn reminded the board that in the past, the consensus from taxpayers has been that they appreciate having the board clearly state how funds will be used, and sticking to their word. He said this was particularly true when Kingsland started the College in School program. Superintendent Hecimovich said, “I think what might resonate with the public, too, is the fact that we’ve done all this with College in the Schools, but we really need to address our Industrial Technology/Ag programming…”
The board also discussed how to fund the additional gym space needed, and pointed out that it should indeed be considered educational space, since it’s needed for PE classes. John Dols shared his thoughts, asking, “Can I share a comment that was made to me, something that I want you to ponder on… We don’t ask our classroom teachers to teach without a classroom; why are we asking our phy ed teachers to do that?” Board members said he made a good point.
Heather Betts said she believes the board needs to strive for as much transparency as possible, since taxpayers may feel that the board is trying to “hide something” even when they’re not. The board discussed the best ways to move forward to fund the necessary upgrades. No action was taken at this time.
The board discussed the possibility of having a “yard sale” of items from the Wykoff site. Plaehn asked if the board’s focus is on raising funds or simply getting rid of the items, and said an auction would be a better way to get everything sold, as opposed to a “yard sale” when many items simply may not be bought. The board discussed checking for an auctioneer that could hold such an auction, possibly on or around August 10 and 11.
The board discussed possibly using a “STOPIT” application next year, to promote anonymous reporting of behavioral or bullying concerns. Parents/families would be able to download an application to cell phones, to use as needed. This option would cost Kingsland about $300 per year. John Dols said if Kingsland chooses this option, he’d like to be able to inform families as soon as possible.
The filing period for anyone interested in running for the school board will be July 31 through August 14. More details will be posted publicly. The next regular board meeting will be Monday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the choir room. As always, the public is welcome.