Board discusses great school tour, and fate of the old school

Posted February 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm

The Miller School Board met February 11 for its monthly meeting. Four of the seven members were present, although school had been canceled that day because of the weather.

Kristi Prince, with Hand County Insurance, presented a check for $5,562.84 to the school, on behalf of the EMC insurance carrier, and its workplace safety program. The check recognized the school district’s successful safety record.

Superintendent Mike Ruth said parent Sherry Moser had asked to be on the agenda to discuss bullying, but could not make it, so the topic will be moved to the March meeting agenda.

Tammy Caffee, K-6 principal, reported students had been given a tour of the new elementary school February 7. The gym and library, especially, “blew them away,” Caffee said. She said the elementary student council has requested a field trip, and one day of extended PE time.

Caffee did comment on bullying, handed out the district’s bullying policy, and also its “flow chart” about how alleged bullying is handled when complaints are received. However, she stated that most cases could be handled on an informal basis.

Both Caffee and Steve Schumacher, 7-12 principal, attended a state principals’ conference. School safety was a primary topic.

Schumacher stated progress reports have been mailed, as well as the junior/senior high school newsletter. A high school Quiz Bowl will be held March 20 in Miller; that same day, White Lake will host a middle school Quiz Bowl.

Superintendent Ruth gave a legislative update. The School Sentinel Bill, which would allow school employees to carry guns on school property, had passed the House and had been sent to Senate State Affairs. The board and Ruth agreed that even if the bill would be passed, districts would maintain local control regarding whether to implement the bill.

He also discussed extending the “sunset” date for allowing certain expenditures from the capital outlay fund.

“There has been no school funding bill as yet,” Ruth said. “The governor said in his state address he would recommend a three-percent increase plus some one-time money.”

He will be attending the upcoming American Association of School Administrators meeting in Los Angeles, February 21-23.

Discussion items included the recent Business After Hours held February 6. Superintendent Ruth reported 150 to 200 persons attended the open house to tour the new elementary school. “It seemed 99 percent of the people were there because they were excited about the school,” he said. Another open house might be scheduled before the mid-May completion date.

The building committee reported on a meeting with Bossardt, the construction management firm, because their contract was expiring March 1, so it needed to be extended to the building completion date. Cost from March 1 to May 17 would be $37,500.00.

Discussion was also held regarding what to do with the current elementary school. It was agreed that the best option would be to declare it surplus, and then the board could weigh choices to sell, auction, parcel, transfer, etc. Business manager Lisa Werdel was requested to check with the State Department of Education and also with other communities that had disposed of/sold buildings that were no longer used as a school.

Superintendent Ruth said the budget committee will begin later in the month to develop a budget for the 2013-14 year.

The school board election will be held April 9 if there is a contest. Terms are expiring for Connie Schroeder and Kurt Pfeifle.

The board approved the following action items:

• The proposal from Kohlman, Biersbach and Anderson to perform the annual school audit for the FY ending June 30, 2012, with total cost to not exceed $9,200.00.

• Payment application #9 (total $170,608.15) for the new elementary school, to JDH Construction, Inc.; Tellinghuisen, Inc.; Total Fire Protection, Inc.; Smith Plumbing, Inc.; Custom Sheet Metal; G&R Controls, Inc.; and Engelstad Electric Company.

• Waived fees for the Knights of Columbus for a baked potato supper February 7.

• Waived fees for a supper fundraiser, Miller girls’ basketball team in conjunction with Modern Woodmen, February 12.

• Transferred playground account ($2,958.46) from the activity fund to the special revenue fund.

• Contract extension for Bossardt Construction to May 17, for $37,500.00.

Following an executive session for superintendent evaluation, three more items were approved:
• Accepted the resignation of Ray Caffee, librarian, with extreme accommodation, effective at the end of the 2012-13 school year.

• Approved the lane change request for Tyann Jones, from BA+15 to BA+30 for an additional $664.00.

• Approved $250.00 for Linda DeBoer to help defray expenses to attend the National High School Athletic Coaches Association meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11 at 6 p.m. in the MHS Library.