6/11/20 Business Meeting
The following is an unofficial summary of the meeting.
Report for Information: COVID Update & Distance Learning Professional Development
Superintendent Pontrelli provided an update on the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report included details on the following:
- New funding approved by the legislature to help support COVID-related activities in our district. The district expects to receive about $500,000 as part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security) Act.
- Summer school and extended year programming and the reopening of summer enrichment activities through Community Education.
- Work underway to prepare for fall. Several scenarios for the start of the 2020-2021 school year are being developed as we await further direction from the governor and Department of Education, including blended learning, distance learning and traditional learning with social distancing.
- A request for the board to allocate approximately $387,000 for COVID-related professional development and curriculum writing to help prepare for the start of school in the fall. This request will come back to the board at the June 25 meeting for action.
Report for Information: Other Post Employee Benefits (OPEB) Levy
The school board discussed the district’s Other Post Employee Benefits liability, which are the benefits that the district is obligated to pay its retirees. Administration is recommending the district levy taxpayers through a non-voter approved levy to help fund its obligations. This would be a continuation of a levy approved in 2020-2021 and would result in a tax reduction from the previous year. The board is expected to vote on the OPEB levy at the June 25 meeting.
Report for Information: Long Term Facilities Maintenance 10 Year Plan – 2020-21 Fiscal Year 2021
School board members were presented with a comprehensive list of projects that qualify for long-term facility maintenance funding. Items on the list were identified by our staff across the district and include routine maintenance and repairs to keep our buildings in good condition. Approval of the prioritized list will be requested of the board at a future meeting, and a final 10-year plan will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education for approval. Projects on this list are reviewed annually and are paid in part from the state of Minnesota in combination with a local non-voter approved levy.
Report for Information: First Reading – Policy 533–Wellness
The school board reviewed the Wellness policy as part of a first reading. The policy will come back before the board for a second reading at a future meeting. Community members were invited to review the policy and weigh in with their feedback.
Action Item: Read Well by Third Grade
The school board approved the Read Well by Third Grade Plan, which provides an overview of how the district is working to ensure reading proficiency for students. The plan outlines the district’s assessment process, interventions, professional development and more. The state requires the district to have a plan in place, and for it to be annually reviewed and approved by the school board.
Action Item: 2020-21 Preliminary Budget
The school board approved the preliminary budget for the 2020-2021 school year. A preliminary budget must be approved each year by June 30. The budget is based on a set of assumptions including, but not limited to, enrollment projections and current law and regulations. It was noted that several factors could impact the preliminary budget, including COVID-related expenses, employee contracts and unforeseeable budget adjustments. A revised budget with updated financial information will be presented to the school board again in the fall.
Action Item: OMS Pool Ceramic Tile Project
The school board approved a project to replace loose tile on the wall of the Oak-Land Middle School swimming pool. The total cost for the project will be $97,569 and will be funded by the 2021 Long-Term Facilities Maintenance fund.
Action Item: Renewal of Teachers on Call Contract
The school board approved a contract with Teachers on Call to provide substitute staffing to our district from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2023.
Action Item: Final Reading of Policies
School board members approved several policies, including 428–Employee Technology & Internet Access and Acceptable Use; Policy 524–Student Technology & Internet Access and Acceptable Use; Policy 506–Student Discipline; and Policy 514–Bullying Prohibition.
Separation Agreement with Employee A
The school board voted 5-2 to approve a separation agreement with an employee identified as Employee A. While terms of the agreement were confidential until approved, board chair Stivland made the following statement following the action: “After serving the Stillwater Area Public Schools for five years, Denise Pontrelli has agreed to a separation agreement with the Stillwater Area School Board. Superintendent Pontrelli wishes to extend her gratitude to the students, staff and community for their partnership to create improved learning systems for all. The district expresses its gratitude to her and her leadership over the last five years.”
During the school board member report, Shelley Pearson announced that she plans to resign from the school board after the July 23, 2020 board meeting.