Original article published in the Mower County Independent, Thursday, February 29, 2024. Reprinted with permission and gratitude.
By Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Kingsland school board held its Feb. 5 monthly workshop in the Kingsland media center — an attempt to make the board’s meetings more accessible to district patrons, taxpayers, students and staff.
The board had previously been convening in the elementary school conference room, but at the suggestion of new board member Dan Freeman, who observed that the conference room was rather crowded and unfriendly to visitors, the board decamped that location and moved upstairs to the media center, a more spacious and welcoming space that members hope will better serve the people who comprise the Kingsland community. Ongoing consideration of where one of the monthly meetings would be held took place because Freeman also noted that the board meetings’ being held only in Spring Valley seemed to exclude or make difficult the participation of Wykoff residents who wish to register their concerns or hear in person what may be the board’s intentions. Kingsland Superintendent Scott Klavetter had been tasked with exploring options for Wykoff meeting venues, with the city council meeting room at the rear of the city hall building, the Wykoff Community Hall or other locations in the running, but according to later postings, the board settled on the council meeting room at 106 N. Gold Street for its regular meetings.
Reviewing and revising the 2024 budget came as part of the agenda because the district’s funding and enrollment are interrelated – the number of students attending the school results in changes in the amount of state funding available to the district because state aid is based on a weighted pupil unit per student – and revenues and expenditures shift based on the district’s current conditions, including its enrollment, how much it has to spend per student in terms of staffing and capital expenditures, and the economic climate. The district’s beginning 2024 fund balance stood at $9,608,106. Its revenues were to stand at $10,482,237, while its expenditures were expected to be $10,901,750, and its projected end of year balance was to land at $9,188,593 for a difference of $419,513.
Following the board’s review of members’ Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) conference experiences, Klavetter pointed out that “it’s never too early to start planting that seed out there again as you look at November…you know, the board will be expanded to seven members, and we’ll have five open seats.” Freeman was elected to the board during a special election last fall and Brady Wolfgram applied to be appointed to the board because there were vacancies left through resignations of elected members who had life events that needed their greater attention.
Department reports were submitted by middle and high school principal Dana Simmons, business manager Julie Schreiber, community education coordinator Becky Bicknese – who outlined for the board the number of children who are to be in Kingsland’s preschool program, and building and grounds director Nate Carolan, who sent a report regarding applying for a grant for the replacement of a water line serving the school kitchen, noting that “currently, this faucet is not used for food preparation.”
The board extended its gratitude to Polly Lentz for designating her Land O’ Lakes $1,000 volunteer donation to the elementary school library, to the Spring Valley Sportsmen’s Club for $5,000 to the trap team, and to Tanya Carlson for snacks donated to the preschool program.
Staffing news included the hire of Michael Rowe as a custodian and learning of the resignation of custodian Kevin Hendrickson. There were no leaves to consider. The consent agenda included reviewing the board meeting minutes of the Jan. 17 regular meeting. Kingsland’s school board meets on the first and third Mondays of each month at 6:00 p.m., now in the
Kingsland media center. The workshop is held the first Monday of the month, and the regular board meeting, the third Monday, though the Presidents’ Day holiday postponed the February regular meeting to Wednesday, Feb. 21 – the Mower County Independent was unable to attend due to prior obligations but will obtain a recap of the regular meeting as soon as possible. As previously listed, workshops are now slated for the media center and regular meetings are set for the Wykoff city council meeting room at 106 N. Gold St., Wykoff, next door to MinnWest Bank on the east side of the street. The public is welcome to attend all open meetings. For more information, log onto the Kingsland school website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us, call the district office at 507-346- 7276, or join the gallery during a meeting.
Courtesy of the Mower County Independent, 135 E Main St. LeRoy, MN 55951, (507)-324-5325