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Jan Kostad and Michele Nelson elected to Kenmare School Board

Voters in the June 14th school board election chose Jan Kostad and Michele Nelson to represent them for the next three years.

6/22/11 (Wed)

Voters reject tax increase


Voters in the June 14th school board election chose Jan Kostad and Michele Nelson to represent them for the next three years.


A majority of those voters, with 112 ballots cast, rejected the school district’s request to levy a five percent mill levy to spend on technology. The mill levy was defeated with a 62-50 vote.


Board members approved the results of the election, with Kostad receiving 94 votes for the at-large position on the board. Arnold Jordan, Boyd Brekhus, Scott Heidel, David King and Dennis Huff received write-in votes for the seat.


Nelson was elected with 70 votes to the rural at-large position, while King received 29 write-in votes. Curtis Graff, Larry Johnson and Pete Stroklund were also listed with write-in votes.


King did not file for re-election on the ballot when his term ended this year. “It’s been a fun 15 years and a good learning experience,” he told the board as the results were announced. He has served as president of the Kenmare school board and represents the northwest region of the state on the North Dakota School Boards Association board of directors.


Nelson will begin her term on the board with the meeting scheduled for July 12th at 7:00 pm.


Approval for new

salaries and budget

All certified and non-certified employees of the Kenmare school district will receive raises for the 2011-2012 school year, following approval by the board.


The negotiated agreement between the district and the Kenmare Education Association calls for a base salary increase to $32,500, an increase of $550 for each of 30 teachers, an across-the-board increase of $900 per teacher, and payment for an additional contract day for each teacher.


The insurance payments were increased by $40 per month for each teacher. Social Security/TFFR benefits were raised by $8,113.00 for the certified staff.


The total cost of the negotiated agreement with the KEA will be $71,983 for the 2011-2012 school year.


Revisions were made to language in the agreement, addressing salaries, paid leave and working conditions.


The board approved a pay increase of 50 cents per hour for non-certified staff members and $67 per month for bus drivers. Board members also approved salary increases of $4320 for Superintendent Mueller and $1700 for business manager Renae Murphy.


In a separate action, the board approved the budget for the 2011-2012 school year, with total revenues of $3,856,733 and total expenses of $3,918,195. The approved budget predicts deficient spending of $61,462.


School lunch

prices will increase

Upon recommendation from the Hot Lunch Committee, board members approved an increase in 25 cents for meal tickets for the 2011-2012 school year, with two milks allowed per student at no additional charge. Students will now pay $2.50 per meal, with adults paying $3.00 per meal.


The recommended change came after the committee’s meeting on May 13th. Chairman Lars Christensen reported the group discussed food allergies, menu items, portion sizes at the two buildings and nutritional value of the meals with community member and parent Becky Stroklund and head cook Barb Henderson.


According to business manager Renae Murphy, students complete allergy information when they register, with that information available for review by school staff.


Board members received a copy of the main meal items served from Henderson, along with the average number of students at the high school who eat that meal. The board also received photocopies of ingredients listed for certain products to show those items did not include some of the foods known to be responsible for allergic reactions among students.


Christensen informed the board that Henderson requested to move from a 9-month to a 10-month contract as a non-certified staff member and to have her insurance paid, a change that will allow the kitchen staff to be decreased by one. The board agreed that Superintendent Mueller has the discretion to make changes in hours for non-certified staff.


Murphy informed the board the district received a federal grant paying for fresh fruits and vegetables to be included in lunches at the elementary school.


New playground

equipment, furnace

in the plans

The board moved closer to committing to a new playground equipment project at Kenmare High School as Kostad reported from the Building Committee’s June 9th meeting. The balance in the building fund stood at approximately $100,000, with another $92,000 expected for the next fiscal year.


“We have a good understanding of the standing of our budget for the fiscal year,” Kostad said. “As a committee, we felt that now was the time to do this. We’ll put out bids to have for the July meeting and see where the costs come in.”


Costs for the project were previously estimated at $60,000, with volunteer labor from parents to install the equipment. The Kenmare Veteran’s Club Inc. promised a donation of up to $10,000 toward the playground equipment.


The Building Committee prioritized a furnace upgrade at the high school, converting the old oil burner to an electric boiler. Costs for the project were estimated at $297,000, although a federal grant may be available that would pay a portion of the expenses, at $150,000 or more. Kostad emphasized the benefits of an electric boiler would include fewer repairs and lower maintenance costs.


Representatives from Northland Coal were performing maintenance on the coal boiler, which has been the primary source of heat for the high school building. The electric boiler would provide a heating option for the school district, depending on the price and availability of coal.


Further information about the federal grant was expected to come in October. “If we can apply for that grant, I’d say we go with electric [heat],” Mueller said.


The Building Committee considered replacing the ceiling tile at the high school and renovations in the VoAg and music rooms, with those projects all delayed at least one year. Work on laying sod in one small place at the elementary school and building dirt pads at the outside doors of the high school will be done this summer as time allows.


The Building Committee also discussed additional classroom space and the purchase of portable classrooms or pods if enrollment numbers increase significantly for grades K-3. “For the 2011-2012 school year, we think we’ll be fine with the classrooms we have,” Kostad said. He added that the committee and Superintendent Mueller intended to keep those students together at the elementary building.


In other business:

• Murphy reported the district should have $500,000 in the interim balance by the end of June, after all the 2010-2011 bills were paid.


• Board members accepted the resignation of Kenmare High School math teacher Anthony Keaveny.


• Board members approved a Sexual Offenders Policy on first reading, as recommended by the Policy Committee and adapted from a sample policy provided by the North Dakota School Boards Association. The policy addresses circumstances with nonparent offenders, parent offenders and student offenders, as well as law enforcement matters and school procedures.


• The board adopted a revised version of the extra-duty salary schedule, as discussed earlier in the year by the Activities Committee and the Policy Committee. The adopted changes also reflect salary and benefit increases.


• Board members approved a tuition waiver agreement request for a sophomore student from the Bowbells school district.


• The board approved a two-year agreement with the Western Dakota Cooperative Consortium for the use of vocational, technical and science equipment shared among 18 schools. Murphy said the district pays $9,000 a year as part of the agreement. “It’s a great deal,” she said. “There’s a half a million dollars of equipment that rotates among the schools.”


• The board agenda included an item to approve contracts for a math instructor and a principal, but no contracts were presented. Both positions continue to be open for the Kenmare school district. KHS principal Scott Faul, who is leaving the district for a position at Minot High School, said he was still working to hire a teacher for the math job.


• Faul announced the 2011-2012 schedule of classes was complete, with the student schedules already finalized for the school year. He also reported the new shot clocks had been received for boys and girls basketball and will be mounted behind the baskets on both ends of the court. “These run on a remote control clicker from the bench,” he said.


• Faul listed the coaching positions open at this time for the 2011-2012 school year, including 7th and 8th grade football, assistant boys and girls basketball, track and golf. He recommended the board consider paying for coaching education classes that soon may be required by the North Dakota High School Activities Association, which could include three online classes at $130 and a stipend to the coaches for committing their time to the classes.


• Faul concluded his final principal’s report by thanking the board for supporting him as principal. “I believe our school is heading in the right direction,” he said, “and I wish you continued success.”


• Superintendent Mueller announced that architect James Devine of J2 Studio in Bismarck would be visiting the school within the coming weeks to do a formal tour of the Phase I classrooms completed in the renovation and remodeling project. The project began in May 2010, with the Phase I classrooms ready for teacher and student use by the time school started in August.


• The board met in executive session to discuss salaries for non-certified staff members and administrators.


• The next regular meeting of the Kenmare school board was scheduled for Tuesday, July 12th, beginning at 7 pm at Kenmare High School.