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County to apply for trail funding from State Dept. of Transportation under Safe Routes To School Act

Meeting Thursday January 20 for its second board meeting of the month—not counting a January 6 workshop— the school board for ISD 833 serving South Washington County was due to approve many items on the consent agenda, including a series of resignations and retirements and one termination.

Also included in the consent agenda for the night were leaves of absence, along with approval of new employees and “change of status” listings to approve.

Before getting into staff resignation and other details, however, several other consent agenda items were up for approval January 20, including electronic funds transfers, three sets of meeting minutes (one for December 16 and two for meetings January 6), the approval of a Student Teaching Agreement with Metropolitan State University, approval of a resolution to accept gifts (both from businesses and private individuals), approval of Washington County’s proposed application for State DOT funding through the Safe Routes to School Act to build a trail extension, and finally, “approval of extended field trips.”

As to the trail extension, the ISD 833 school board was set to approve a resolution of support between the school district and the County for submittal of an application by Washington County to the Minnesota Department of Transportation for trail funding, meant to enhance bicyclist and pedestrian safety.

The trail funding application would see the extension of a present trail along 65th Street South/County Road 74 and link the area between Meadowgrass Avenue South and Hadley Avenue in northwest Cottage Grove, with a potential future trail link directly into Cottage Grove Elementary. Identified in the Safe Routes to School Engineering plan for Cottage Grove Elementary back in 2016, the pending trail extension is to be built with funds apportioned by the Minnesota Legislature to the Safe Routes to School Act in 2019 and 2021.

Also listed on the consent agenda for Thursday night’s meeting was an agreement of the district with Metropolitan State University regarding student teachers and clinical experience for University graduates.

The University, which operates a nursing program as part of its course offerings, would see students who pass a mandatory background check work in the school district to gain clinical experience, with the contract stipulation that the “facility” (ISD 833) “has ultimate control over all persons involved in the program and may immediately terminate the participation in the program of any of the student enrolled in the program where an emergency exists involving health and safety.” For non-emergency situations, meanwhile, the facility will consult with Metropolitan State University, while the renewed contract agreement is to be in effect from the full execution (of the agreement) through August 18, 2026 at 11:59 p.m. Interns are not district employees nor to be construed as such, per the contract.

Passing over the approval of board minutes from December 16 and January 6, the next items for approval at the January 20 board meeting were a resolution approving electronic fund transfers by the district for the month of December, along with a resolution for the acceptance of gifts on the district’s behalf from private individuals and businesses.

Contained within the detailed summary for gifts received by the district in December, Chipotle Mexican Grill is listed as having given $100.95 for “Staff recognition” at Armstrong Elementary and $268.06 for student recognition at Cottage Grove Middle School, while the Cottage Grove PTO gave $743.70 for general education at Cottage Grove Elementary, the Grey Cloud Elementary PTA giving $180.65 for general education at Grey Cloud Elementary.

Other donors who gave last month to the district included 3M, Medtronic, the East Ridge Band Boosters, The Park Varsity Girls Hockey Boosters together with the Park Boys Hockey Boosters, and the Royals Line Club, for a partial list.

Shifting to Electronic Funds Transfers on the part of ISD 833 the list is long, with a comprehensive cash management program for Minnesota school districts called the Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund (MSDLAF” for short), playing a large roll. Electronic fund transfers as such can be related to automatic withdrawals, payroll and benefit, and debt service payments, along with interbank transfers.

Starting out the top six electronic fund transfers for the month of December in ISD 833, is one from December 15 for $1,890,136.08 from the MSDLAF to US Bank, with the vendor/description column listing “IRS.” A second transfer with the IRS listed in the vendor/ description column took place December 30, for $1,594,880.18.

Following the first two transfers in size is one for $1,0789,043.04, the vendor/description being described as “Lease Payoff,” along with one from MSDLAF to US Bank for 1,002,568.55, the vendor/ description entry for this transfer listed as “TRA.” A fifth transfer from the MSDLAF to US Bank lists EBC (403b) under the description column, the amount listed as $412,875.76 total.

Coming in last for the top six transfers in terms of size is one for $383,713 .93 on December 30 from the MSDLAF to US Bank, with described as “EBC (403b)” for further details.

Other listed transfers have different entries in the description column, includedBenefit Resource (BRI), Delta Dental, PERA, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Departments of Revenue, and “BPA (VEBA). The full total listed for December in automatic withdrawals, payroll and benefit, and debt service payments, comes out to $7,839,478.41.

Shifting next to interbank transfers there are just five entries for the month of December, as follows:

• A transfer of $104,855.58 from Merchants Bank to MSDLAF on December 3.

• A transfer of $244,709.19 from Old National Bank to MSDLAF on December 8.

• A transfer of $179,694.06 from Merchants Bank to MSDLAF on December 14.

• A transfer of $1,367,293.99 from Old National Bank to MSDLAF on December 22, and

• A transfer of $87,749.37 from Old National Bank to MSDLAF on December 23, making for a December total of $1,984,572.19 in interbank transfers.

Next for the consent agenda review from Thursday’s school board meeting meanwhile are three extended field trips, to Duluth, Kansas City, and Costa Rica, the last meaning “Rich Coast” in Spanish. The Duluth trip is band related and involves members of the Park High, East Ridge, and Woodbury jazz bands, while the trip to Kansas City is related to the East Ridge Girls Golf team. The final trip to Costa Rica is being undertaken by the East Ridge High School Spanish program, supervised by teachers Michele Salinas and Natalie Bird.

Back to the top of the consent agenda, meanwhile, not all was celebration, as there were several resignations and retirements, along with one termination to approve.

Prominent in the list of resignations from ISD 833 to be approved from the January 20 consent agenda are “paraprofessional” (trained aide) positions, while the high school nutrition specialist update is split, with one “resignation” (by Jean Denesen of Woodbury High School) and one “termination” (of Heidi Seubert at Park High School). Denesen’s last day working for ISD 833 was January 13, while Seubert’s last day was January 11.

Returning to paraprofessionals/ trained aides in ISD 833, the list of departures is long, with paraprofessionals resigning from Woodbury High School (Emily Beich and Leanna Welter), Park High School (Suma John and Tamara Sheldon), Cottage Grove Middle School (Erin Jeseritz), Oltman Middle School (Brandee Lee), Lake Middle School (Chloe Wickerman), Nueva Fronteras Spanish Immersion School (Pamela Glubka), Cottage Grove Elementary (Shelby Porter), Crestview Elementary School (Nicole Swanson), and Woodbury Elementary School (Stacie LaValle) among them. In addition, there is one bus driver retirement listed on the January 20 consent agenda, by Timothy Gaughan.

On the flip side of the ISD 833 staff directory listings in the consent agenda are a series of new hires, also listing paraprofessionals.

Among the new hires for paraprofessionals in ISD 833 are Rebecca Knott for Crestview Elementary and Kirstin Gralnick for Liberty Ridge Elementary School. Also included in recent paraprofessional changes is the rehire of Sydney Landgraf for Liberty Ridge Elementary School, while Therase Babbit is listed as a paraprofessional for Cottage Grove Middle School and Baylea Karas is listed as such for Newport Elementary, with the stated reason for the latter being “change in status.”

As to non-paraprofessional related staff adjustments, three bus driver names are listed with “change in status” (Paul Jansen, Glen Hoppe, and Michael Houston), with hockey and gymnastics coaches listed as well.

More information on staff changes is available by viewing the board meeting agenda for January 20th at https://www.sowashco. org/, reached by clicking on “About Us,” then “School Board,” and finally on “2021-2022 Meetings” under School Board Meetings at the bottom of the web page.

January 19, 2022