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North Branch Schools

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September 28, 2022

1/20/2011 10:10:00 AM
New year brings changes to CL board

To begin the first Chisago Lakes school board meeting of 2011, new member Dani Strenke and re-elected member Mark Leigh took their oaths to serve the school board.

Another new member for 2011, Tom Lawlor, wasn't present due to a death in the family, but the board proceeded with their organizational meeting.

Board member Jerry Vitalis put in all the motions for positions among the board. He nominated Mark Leigh to remain the board chairman, Lori Berg to remain the board vice chairman, Noel Stensrud to be the new treasurer and Strenke to be the new clerk.

All positions were seconded by Stensrud and all passed unanimously.

The board also rearranged the representatives for their various 2011 committees. Among the changes with the departure of Wade Carlson and Lynn Johnson were Lawlor joining the Chisago Lakes Arena committee, finance advisory committee, the Gifted and Talented representative, the Minnesota State High School League rep, the non-instructional staff negotiator and the transportation advisory rep.

Strenke was assigned to the communications committee, the community education rep, the facilities committee rep, instructional staff negotiator, the Parent Teacher Organization parent advisory rep for the middle school, and the St. Croix River Education District board.

There were also some changes among existing members. Vitalis took over the calendar committee from Carlson. He also moved from being one of the instructional staff negotiators to the non-instructional staff negotiator.

Berg took over Johnson's post as one of the District Wellness reps, as well as being the PTO parent advisory rep for the high school.

Stensrud took over as the PTO parent advisory rep for the Primary School and Lakeside.

The early retirement incentive package offered to teachers from last month drew three applications to the board. The board denied the application of Mike Moberg, who had retired in October of last year.

They approved the applications of middle school history teacher Ed Wachutka and high school business instructor Dana Wood.

The board clarified that under this agreement, the teachers cannot return to teaching. They can be substitutes, but not full time or even part time employees in a school district.

Applications are still being taken up until February 1.

Tim Burton, Director of Buildings and Grounds at Chisago Lakes, gave an update on the Public Building Enhanced Energy Efficiency Program (PBEEEP).

The Office of Energy Solutions is in the investigative phase of where the district can save money in energy costs. PBEEEP covers 70 percent of the costs to investigate where the schools can save money. The rest of the cost is off set by the energy savings resulting. Burton said the project is "budget neutral" for the district.

Burton described the investigative process as "taking a look at how the schools are running, from lights to air handling. There is a lot of energy savings if we can just fine tune the buildings."

Burton continued, explaining just why the Office of Energy Solutions picked Chisago Lakes. "They wanted a challenge versus a district that is already pretty energy efficient," he said.

The board begrudgingly accepted high school social studies teacher Brian Deede's resignation. The popular and well-liked teacher gave only three days notice before his departure to another state.

According to Director of Business Services Heide Miller, Deede gave his official letter of resignation on Wednesday, and his last day teaching was Friday. She explained that per their contract, teachers are bound to it until the end of the school year unless extenuating circumstances such as poor health are involved.

She said it isn't unheard of for a teacher to leave in the middle of the school year, but the more notice the better.

Deede had to leave for personal reasons, and the board discussed pulling his teaching license, but they said as far as they knew, he wasn't going to be teaching.

Although they were proceeding without any official action against Deede, superintendent Mike McLoughlin and CLEM representative Jeff Lindeman said they had to work together on a statement to CLEM that they were letting Deede go, but it's not OK to do what he did. "CLEM wants to reenforce the message that it will not be looked at kindly," Lindeman said.

As the discussions closed, both Berg and Vitalis expressed their displeasure with the way he handled it simply for the student's sake. "As good as he was, it was a disservice to the kids that he left hanging," Vitalis said.

Enrollment again declined for the month. From December to January, the primary school lost four students, Taylors Falls Elementary lost five students, the high school lost eight while the middle school gained one student. The total decline in students was 16.

Other notes from the meeting:

-The board compensation remained the same. Despite the amount being the same for the last three years, the board decided it wasn't a good time to give themselves a raise. Leigh chimed in, saying he remembered a time when the pay rate didn't increase for 10 years, so a flat rate for three years wasn't a big deal.

-Substitute pay for janitors, lunch crew and teachers all remained the same.

-Brad Faltaysek of Abdo, Eick and Meyers LLP went through the audit of the school district. There were no abnormal findings in the audit as everything came back in order.

-The board selected the Chisago County Press as official newspaper for 2011.

-Board meetings will remain the second Thursday of each month except for Thursday, March 24.

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