6/25/20 Business Meeting
The following is an informal summary of the meeting.
Report for Information: District Handbook
The school board received an update on the District’s Handbook, which informs parents and guardians of district policies and required notices, as well as the rights and responsibilities of our students and their guardians. The board will be asked to consider approval of the handbook at the July 23 meeting.
Report for Information: Distance Learning Survey Results
The school board heard a report on the results from the distance learning survey that was given to parents/guardians and students at the end of the school year. Feedback from this survey is being considered as district staff plans for the coming year.
Report for Information: Second Reading – Policy 533 – Wellness
The school board reviewed the Wellness policy as part of a second reading. The policy will come back as an action item at a future meeting.
Report for Information: First Reading – Policy 903 – Visitors to School District Buildings and Sites
The school board reviewed the Visitors to School District Buildings and Sites policy as part of a first reading. The policy will be brought back as a second reading at a future meeting.
Action Item: Distance Learning Professional Development
The school board approved allocating approximately $387,000 for COVID-related professional development and curriculum writing to help prepare for the start of school in the fall. This will provide teachers an opportunity to engage in four days of learning and preparation over the summer.
Action Item: District Cultural Liaison
The school board approved the hiring of a district cultural liaison to help build connections between district students, families, staff and community members. This position will serve as an advocate for equity and inclusion, and empower and support families to promote student academic success. The position will be housed at the high school while serving all students and families in the district. The district cultural liaison will be paid from a state grant as part of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) initiative. Beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, the position will be funded through Achievement and Integration funding.
Action Item: Stillwater Area School Board Statement for Racial Justice
The school board approved a statement of its intent to work with the community to take action to reform the systems that perpetuate racial bias, mistreatment and unfairness.
Action Item: Other Post Employee Benefits (OPEB) Levy
The school board approved levying district taxpayers through a non-voter approved levy of $500,000 to help fund its obligations for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB). These are the benefits that the district is obligated to pay its retirees. This would not result in a tax increase for taxpayers.
Action Item: Long Term Facilities Maintenance 10 Year Plan 2020-21 Fiscal Year 2021
School board members approved 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. The 10-year plan will now be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education for approval. Projects on this list are reviewed annually and are paid in part from state funds in combination with a local non-voter approved levy.
Action Item: Minnehaha Transportation Inc. Property Lease
The school board approved a one-year property lease agreement with Minnehaha Transportation, Inc. This agreement allows the district to transfer its bus maintenance facility from the district-owned property on Hudson Blvd. in Lake Elmo to the leased property on Stagecoach in Oak Park Heights. The city of Lake Elmo recently revoked the district’s Conditional Use Permit for the Lake Elmo property, resulting in a need for a new site to maintain and store school buses for the coming school year.
Action Item: Transportation Contract & Sublease Agreement
The school board approved a four year transportation contract with Metropolitan Transportation Network (MTN) School Bus Company. The board also approved a one year sublease agreement with MTN for the Stagecoach property.
Youth Services Bureau, Inc. Agreements
The school board approved agreements with Youth Services Bureau (YSB) to provide a variety of mental and chemical health support services to students. The agreements included a contract for an additional day of support for students at the St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center as well as a full-time therapist to provide counseling and chemical health support for students in the district. For more than a decade, YSB has provided crisis response support, as well as chemical health and mental health prevention and counseling support services to students, staff and community.
Action Item: Interim Superintendent
The board voted to offer Malinda Lansfeldt the position of interim superintendent and directed the board chair and clerk to negotiate the terms of the contract and bring it back for final approval. Malinda is one of the most senior administrators in the district and currently serves as the principal of Afton-Lakeland Elementary School. During her 13 years in the district, she has led several elementary schools and has also worked as the director of elementary education at the district level. Pending final approval, she would begin her new position on July 2 and serve in the role for a period of up to one year or until the district hires a permanent superintendent, whichever comes first.
Action Item: Amended Transportation Contract with Minnesota Central Bus Co.
The school board voted to direct administration to renegotiate the terms of the contract with the current transportation provider, Minnesota Central. The contract was amended in March as a result of changes in transportation services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several board members expressed concerns with the process used to approve the original amendment, as well as with a particular item included.