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February 22, 2019

1/17/2019 1:37:00 PM
School board welcomes new member, takes care of procedural business

With the calendar turning over to a new year, the Chisago Lake School Board went through its procedural meeting that has mostly boiler plate topics.

They did welcome the newest board member, Melissa Donovan, taking board member Tom Lawlor’s spot.

She was sworn in, along with the others who won their re-election bids -- Dani Strenke and Mark Leigh -- at the beginning of the meeting.  Longtime board member Brenda Carlson will be taking over Lawlor’s post as treasurer.

Brad Faltysek of Abdo, Eick and Meyer presented the annual audit for the school district. While the audit was mostly clear of any issues, Faltysek did note some financial challenges for the district, including state and federal funding that has been promised over time but hasn’t been delivered. New Director of Business Services Doug Hasler, who officially took his post on January 3, added, “We will have some budgeting challenges upcoming, but we will be hard at work on them and we’ll put the administration and school board in a position to make the best decisions possible.”

Board member Jerry Vitalis asked Faltysek out of curiosity how much he thought the district was “valued” at. Faltysek didn’t nail down a specific number, as there aren’t exact values placed on school districts, but he referred to the audit in saying that it’s probably somewhere in the $60-70 million range based on assets, liabilities and resources.

Faltysek did say that some of their assets wouldn’t necessarily be worth something outside of a school district setting, but also said that some of their liabilities would be cleared as well if there was no school district.

The board announced that there was a $4,000 donation from the Fletcher Foundation to the Primary School, as well as Lakes Area Recreation Association donating $1,200 to the swimming program and $200 to the wrestling program.

The board voted unanimously to keep their stipends the same as last year. They’ll receive $45 for each meeting, $75 for a half day meeting and $125 for a full day meeting. As chairman, Leigh receives an extra $600 per year, as well as Strenke as the clerk, and treasurer Carlson receives an extra $300 per year in stipend.

Much of the other business was authorizing depositories, tuition agreements, authorizations to sign contracts and use district credit cards.

The board typically uses the first meeting of the year to appoint board members to certain committees, but decided to wait until the board retreat in March to really dig into those roles and make sure each person felt comfortable in those committee roles.

Superintendent Dean Jennissen provided a quick update on the construction of the community center and elementary school. He said they are both progressing steadily at this point, and that the Manufacturing and Agricultural classes that are part of the high school renovation near the community center addition are opened to students after the Christmas break.
High school staff within those departments came in over break to work with the construction companies to make sure the new equipment was put in the best spots to be utilized by the students.

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