Herzing elected school board chair

Joel Stottrup / ECM Publishers, Inc. Milaca School Board Mark Herzing takes over the chairperson’s spot after being elected to the position Jan. 21. Jeff Larson, who had been chairperson, prepares to sit down at left.
Joel Stottrup / ECM Publishers, Inc.
Milaca School Board Mark Herzing takes over the chairperson’s spot after being elected to the position Jan. 21. Jeff Larson, who had been chairperson, prepares to sit down at left.

The Milaca School Board reorganized its officer positions at the start of its meeting Jan. 21 in the Milaca High School media center.

Mark Herzing was elected board chair, replacing Jeff Larson, who was elected vice chair to replace Judy Pearson. Aimee Struffert was re-elected clerk. Todd Quaintance was elected treasurer, taking over the job from Herzing.

The board, which normally has its meetings in the evening, conducted the Jan. 21 meeting during the day, starting at 9 a.m. and winding it up in the late afternoon. The day meeting was planned so the board could be in the school to receive presentations from students about their use of technology in their schooling, and to attend the kickoff of the district’s new anti-bullying program. The kick-off events were in both the high school and the elementary.

The board, in other business:

• Established compensation for board members, using the same formula as last year. It is $35 per member for meetings under four hours and $75 for meetings exceeding four hours per day, with no annual pay for officers.

• Designated the Mille Lacs County Times as the school district’s official newspaper to carry official school business, including summaries of board meeting minutes.

• Designated the law firm of Kennedy-Graven as the school attorney.

• Authorized the superintendent and/or business manager to make short-term investments, deposits, transfers, withdrawals and electronic funds transfers from savings to other financial institutions. It also authorized the same to make wire transfers of school district funds to approve financial institutions and authorized the superintendent to lease, purchase and contract for goods and services within the general budget categories pursuant to statute.

• Designated First National Bank as the local depository for school funds.

• Designated Associated Bank/MN Trust/PMA Financial as a local depository for aid-anticipation funds.

• Adopted an agenda and consent agenda format.

• Set committee assignments for the board members.

• Set the policy for rescheduled meetings. If, on a day of a board meeting, school is canceled, school is released early or evening activities are canceled due to a situation beyond the board’s control such as bad weather, the board meeting will be postponed and held at the same time and location the following evening.

• Approved personnel changes including compensation adjustments, hirings and resignations. The superintendent and board made note of paraprofessional Bev Dee’s resignation effective this coming June 30, after 27 years of service to the school district, and longtime football head coach Randy Johnson having left the job Dec. 15, 2013.

• Heard brief reports from high school Principal Damian Patnode and elementary Principal Steve Voshell. Voshell thanked staff members Dave Wedin, Michelle Anderson and Jessica Juntunen “for their hard work in the building.”

• Approved high school Activities Director Jerry Westphal’s request to hire an additional seventh-grade girls basketball coach for this season and for that coach to be paid on a prorated basis. The board also approved Westphal’s request to form a two-year cooperative agreement with Faith Christian School in Foreston so that students there could join the Milaca girls softball team. The motion was that the agreement will only be in effect if it doesn’t change Milaca’s softball classification which is now AA, to AAA. Westphal said that Faith Christian might enroll one girl this coming spring to be on the Milaca team and “maybe two or three down the road.”

• Received an update from Milaca Community Education director Bob Sumner on the archery program and the planned trap shooting activity, both through Community Education. Sumner reported having 86 participants in the archery program. Regarding plans to start a trap shooting activity this coming spring, Sumner said he would be meeting soon with parents of interested students.

Archery is open to persons in kindergarten up into adulthood, and the trap shooting will be for grades 6-12, Sumner added. He said the likely fee to participate in Milaca trap shooting will be $215.

• Adopted the board meeting schedule, in which all the regular meetings through the rest of 2014 will start at 6:30 p.m. and are scheduled to be in the high school media center. The dates will be Feb. 18, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.

Board members had a short discussion on the location for the meetings. Quaintance called the media center “not the ideal place for the meetings.” He referred to the members on each end of the center board table adjusting their chairs into new positions in the hopes that they could hear each other better. The chairs had all been facing forward. Quaintance questioned if everyone in the audience could hear the board members speak.

Quaintance also recalled past discussions on what the ideal time is for the meetings, noting that someone had suggested morning meetings.

Herzing responded that the times must allow people to participate and recalled someone once suggesting a 6 p.m. start time. Superintendent Jerry Hansen commented that when the board had met during morning times, it was more convenient for school staff members to attend.