STMA supports proposal for common activities website

The St. Michael-Albertville School Board supported allowing a common website for all athletic, fine arts and club activities, 

This action required a one-time exemption from school board policy.

The board also continued discussion about next year’s budget, and heard an update regarding the Bring Your Own Device pilot project.




Supt. Jim Behle said athletics director Brian Benson has been working with coaches and activity and club sponsors on the possibility of hosting a common website for all athletic, fine arts and club activities.

Behle said the benefits of a common website are for parents and community members to more easily access information about all activities on one website. He said each activity would be represented on the website, and that coach use would provide more meaningful information about activities.

He further said there would be enhanced opportunities to brand and promote the district and its activities, and would be cost-effective with a one-time $1,200 setup cost. Lastly, the superintendent said a common website would facilitate greater oversight of advertising and ensure compliance with the district’s advertising policy.

Current advertising links on the STMA page static so they do not link to outside vendor ad websites, as prohibited by board policy 905. Behle said the new site provider would allow for area advertising and might have contracts with a national advertiser. And if the vendor contracts with national advertisers in the future, this product might not meet the board policy intent.

Behle said one common website would allow for better district oversight.

Board members Jeff Lindquist, Carole Steffens, Jeanne Holland, Gayle Weber, Drew Scherber and Doug Birk approved a one-time exception to board policy 905, advertising, with regard to establishing a school district common athletic, fine arts and club activity website.



In other matters, Supt. Behle continued a budget update that began at the previous board meeting.

For purposes of the budget, Behle projected an enrollment increase next year of 50 students. He restated that 2014-15 budget revenues have been difficult to determine because of all the changes in the funding formula last session. Thus, end of year comparisons range from a deficit of $250,000 to a net increase of $460,495.

Behle also identified elementary and middle school position reductions, reallocations and increases built into the budget.

He will be meeting with the high school, and the board will continue budget discussion at the next meeting. Board members did agree to the 2014-15 staffing information as presented to date.



In further news, technology director Wayne Hoistad shared a video outlining the 2013-14 Project Phoenix (Bring Your Own Device) pilot.

He said the project involves four classes at each middle school that piloted students bringing their own devices supplemented by district-purchased devices.

Hoistad said various online and device based applications are used in the classroom as additional instructional tools. He reviewed results from staff, student and parent surveys. Also included were statistics on the amount of time devices were used in the classroom, the number of students who used their own devices, equity, instructional uses and how learning was impacted.

Board members asked Supt. Behle to provide additional information regarding financial and technical investments with a recommendation and timeline for a future rollout.