|1/16/2020 4:09:00 PM|
District announces new Community Education Director Michelle Kleist
With long-time Community Education Director Bob Meyer stepping aside, the Chisago Lakes School Board approved the hiring of Michelle Kleist to take his post.
Meyer, who has been at Chisago Lakes since 1992 and in education since 1983, was celebrated by many of the board members and Superintendent Dean Jennissen.
“We are thankful for you, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that,” Jennissen said. “You’ve set a high standard in Community Education and have been a strong leader. You will be missed, but we wish you well and are very happy for you.”
Board chair Mark Leigh, who was elected to his spot the same year Meyer was hired, echoed those sentiments, saying, “Thank you for being a great friend Bob. You’ve gone through a lot in that position and you’ve been amazing. Thank you for all that you’ve done and we’ve certainly appreciated you being here.”
Kleist, who was among five applicants, is on her way from Mankato Community Education and Recreation. She was in charge of the Access/Youth Recreation wing of Mankato’s Comm Ed and has worked with the Adults with Disabilities, Community Outreach and Middle School programs within community education.
“Chisago Lakes offered a chance for me to really be able to take my experiences and education to the next level and really put it into practice,” Kleist said. “Chisago Lakes is a supportive environment for me to continue to grow and develop as a leader. We fell in love with the greater community when we did our own research and came up prior to the interview process, everything just felt like home to us.”
“Michelle stood out among the rest, and I think she will do a great job here,” Jennissen said.
For his last official report, Meyer noted that the Wildcat Community Center got the expected New Year’s Resolution rush and they are now at 60 percent of their anticipated revenue in just five months. They have over 2,300 combined members between walkers, family plans and individuals.
Much of the other business was of an organizational nature, which is standard for the first meeting of a new year.
One of the new topics was potential levy consultants as it looks more and more like the district may be asking a question for more levy dollars in the general election.
The board finance sub-committee brought forward a recommendation of three separate consultants. The three components they focused on were:
1. Surveying the community to understand the level of support for additional funds for schools which would also raise taxes.
2. Financial detail for a per pupil funding increase and the taxpayer impact to support it.
3. Community engagement or “marketing” for the levy effort.
For the first component, the sub-committee suggested Morris Leatherman to use a phone survey with as many as 80 questions. They would focus on getting respondents from every demographic group in the district.
The cost of the consulting and survey would be between $14-17,000, depending on the length of the survey.
For the second component, the sub-committee suggest working with Ehlers Consulting, a company the district has worked with for years. Ehlers comes in at $3,700.
And for the third component, they suggested Rapp Strategies, with Leigh saying “Todd Rapp really seems to be the best at what he does.”
Rapp Strategies would cost $3,500 per month for full consulting services, including production of communication materials, website presence, fact sheets, and brochures.
The board unanimously approved the consultants that were brought forward by the finance sub-committee.
The board also passed the Staff Reduction Resolution, which is a standing resolution done each year and in nearly every district passes at the first meeting of the year.
The resolution says that the administration can make recommendation for reductions in programs and positions.
But, when student board representative Ann Nelson asked about the resolution at the end of the meeting, Leigh went on to say that there are certain realities that the district is facing in regards to funding. He said the board is going to be taking a hard look at everything financially over the remainder of the year in an effort to start to move in positive directions.
The board unanimously approved to move meetings up to 6 p.m. starting with the Thursday, February 13 gathering.