May 19 policy review to include policy language clarifying public participation at school board meetings

Posted 5/4/22

EXTENDED FIELD TRIPS TO SPAIN, SOUTH DAKOTA AMONG APPROVED ITEMS APRIL 21 Going into the May 5 workshop meeting, the ISD 833 school board was set to cover many items. With a first reading of proposed …

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May 19 policy review to include policy language clarifying public participation at school board meetings



Going into the May 5 workshop meeting, the ISD 833 school board was set to cover many items.

With a first reading of proposed policy updates before a return for board approval May 19, these were the policies under scrutiny in the monthly reviews (with proposed change summaries in parentheses):

• 206 Public Participation in School Board Meetings – Procedure (Grammatical changes)

• 206 Public Participation in School Board Meetings (removed procedures, minor grammatical changes)

• 406 Public and Private Personnel Data (Updated language and statute information – significant updates)

• 419 Tobacco Free Environment (Updated language and statute information – significant updates)

• 620 Credit for Learning (Moderate updates to sections IX and XI)

• 624 Online Learning Options (Minor updates) Public comment on the proposed policy changes was allowed following the information item, per the workshop agenda. Also up for board review is an informational presentation on the Alternative Learning Center application the purpose of which was to review to request approval for same during the board’s May 19 business meeting Finally for the board workshop May 5 was an administrative report, its purpose being to review current enrollment numbers, highlight course offerings, share planning team information, and provide information on what was being worked on “to prepare for the start of next school year.” The informational update was due to be given by Online School principal Nick Falde.

As to board business at the April 21 board meeting prior, it lasted some 56 minutes, with the call to order coming at 6:47 p.m. from board chair Sharon Van Leer, followed with roll call. Following roll call with the Pledge of Allegiance, it was into approval of the agenda, motion being made by Pat Driscoll and seconded by Melinda Dols. All members voted in favor, the motion passing.

Following this was public comment, with several speakers, including Addison McDonogh, Steven Rosenthal, Erin Leuschke, Allan Kean, Mark McKenzie, Victoria Kulik-Carlson, Holly Yannarelly, and Janette McCalvy.

The board later voted 6 -1 to approve the longrange facilities plan, Eric Tessmer being the sole ‘no’ vote. A public referendum will be held in August on approving a $462 bond for the plan which includes closing Newport Elementary to turn the building into an early learning center.

With public comment over, the next board item was the consent agenda, motion made by Katie Schwartz and seconded by Louise Hinz. Included in the consent agenda of non-controversial items were several leaves of absence, paid, unpaid, “paid Reduced hours,” and “paid – intermittent,” among other designations.

Also included in the consent agenda were new hires, from transportation to all three school tiers (elementary, middle, and high school).

Meanwhile and not to be left out, there are some extended field trips coming up. Beginning June 11 and running through July 13, the Woodbury High School Spanish Immersion Program with 50 students and four adult supervisors will be headed to Málaga, Spain. Leaving from Minneapolis- St. Paul International via Delta, KLM, and Air France, trip participants will be given the opportunity to expand their Spanish language skills through in class instruction and supervised leisure activities, with Colegio Maravilla providing all transportation upon arrival at Málaga on the north Mediterranean. The Iberian Peninsula part of the itinerary begins Monday the 14th with a level test (examen de nivel) followed with three-and-a half hours of Spanish Class with two breaks, then a welcome speech, buffet lunch, and departure from school at 3:30 p.m. Supervised day trips include a visit to Cordoba, half-day visit to Mijas, and the beach, plus dinner with host families.

Also in extended field trips approved at the April 21 board meeting but stateside was one by the Woodbury High School AFJROTC with 40 students and three adult supervisors to Rapid City, South Dakota. Trip participants will be transported by Thielen Bus Lines Inc. and witness an air show featuring the Blue Angels, along with aircraft tours, static displays, and viewing of STEM related events.

Also included in the intinerary for the Woodbury High AFJROTC is a tour of Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. Among the qualifying features for trip eligibility are that students must not be failing classes, have signed parent/guardian permission form, and no behavior or discipline issues reported by staff of information. The trip, moreover, will be chaperoned by Major Thomas Petzold and Master Sergeant Kathy Cotto.

Returning to the April 21 school board meeting, the board accepted gifts from several businesses, organizations, and individuals, including HAZA Foods ($1,037.55 for staff recognition), the Armstrong PTO ($296.15 for general education), Bailey Elementary PTA ($1,239.65 for Art), Anonymous ($1,000.40 for General Education), Land O’ Lakes ($975 for general education to Cottage Grove Middle School and $1,025 for Staff Recognition to Grey Cloud Elementary), along with $3,000 by Jeffrey Volk for General Education at Nuevas Fronteras and $242.57 for General Education to Oltman Middle, the latter donation by Blake and Amanda Reigert.

Other recent gift donors include the Crestview PTSA, Raptor Boys Basketball Boosters, Kurt Becker, East Ridge Face Off Club, Raptor Takedown Club, Wells Fargo, Grey Cloud PTA, Hillside PTO, Teresa Moerke (for Student Recognition), Old National Bank (a scholarship), Minnesota Pipe Line (also scholarships), the American Heart Association, Red Rock PTO, Shannon Johnson, Royal Oaks PTA, Carol Bachmann, and the Kopp Family Foundation.

Non-cash donations to various schools from Donors Choose, were estimated to equate to $11,805.80.

Closing out the consent agenda for April 21 was renewal of a student teaching agreement with the University of Wisconsin – Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin, along with renewal of a student teacher placement agreement between the district and North Dakota State University.

Approval of cash disbursements for March by the district in the total amount of $12,254,687.16 and a lease agreement for high school tech devices, were also in the consent agenda. The aim of the four-year lease agreement for 6300 Lenovo 300e Chromebooks, was to provide same for student use “as well as life cycling obsolete devices.” Lease contract details call for annual payments of $477,767.97 beginning on July 1, 2022.

Following approval of the long-range facilities plan as covered in the April 28 Cottage Grove Journal, it was into approval of proposed policy changes as part of an otherwise routine board review, with motion made by Eric Tessmer and seconded by Dols. Following this, it was time to talk teaching contracts, or rather the termination of probationary teachers.

“During the 2021-2022 school year, as in past years, we have many exceptional teachers working for the School District,” the unpleasant business with reference to state statute 122A.40 was introduced. “It is necessary to pass a resolution to terminate the teaching contracts of a number of probationary teachers. The reasons for release include student driven scheduling, changes in enrollment, curriculum changes, union contract transfer article language, licensure issues and performance issues,” the written preamble went on.

“On or before April 21, 2022, you will receive the non-renewal letters of the probationary teachers who must be released at the end of the current school year. The resolution terminates teaching contracts at the end of the 2021-2022 school year, with non-renewal for the 2022-2023 school year,” it said. With motion by Driscoll seconded by Hinz, all voted in favor of the release of probationary teachers on the district’s part. Last but not least, though, there was a report, with superintendent Julie Nielsen bringing members up to date on a School Business Officials award for the Finance Office, two district teaches who were finalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year, Professional Development, the Woodbury Citizen’s Academy, and Iftar, a meal to mark the start of Ramadan.

The board next returns to deliberate at the Service Center May 19, with more information at www.sowashco. org. School board business is reachable by link under the “About Us” tab.