by Peg Craig
The St. Michael–Albertville School Board met to authorize the sale of bonds for construction projects related to the recent bond issue and to hear about the bonding process and building schedule.
They also recognized student artists, approved new staff positions and elected new School Board officers.
BONDING AND BUILDING
Shelby McQuay, representative of Ehlers & Associates, Inc. Financial Advisors, summarized the financial plans for funding the projects included in the recent bond referendum. Ehlers will help the district issue and sell $35,705,000 in General Obligation School Building Bonds. The bonds will be repaid over a term of 14 years and 8 months, but can be refinanced in ten years if it is to the district’s advantage. About 60% of the amount will be repaid through state debt equalization aid. The bonds will go on sale on March 20 and are expected to sell at a premium.
Superintendent Ann-Marie Foucault announced that a Core Project Team (CPT) composed of school and community stakeholders will be formed to provide leadership and oversight for the projects. A construction manager will be hired to coordinate the various contractors. High School Principal Bob Driver will serve as the bond projects school liaison to work with the CPT, construction manager, architect and superintendent.
Work on the Middle School East pool repair, technology upgrades and lighting retrofits will begin in April. Securing school entrances will begin in June and be finished in time for the 2017-18 school year. Construction of the new ice arena, tennis courts, baseball field, classrooms, and all-purpose facility will begin in the fall of 2017 with completion of all projects expected by fall of 2018. The CPT will meet twice a month during the construction period and will give regular progress reports to the school board, checking to see that they will be done on time and within the budget.
In other news, High School Principal Driver will be spending half of his time during the construction period acting as liaison to oversee the projects. The money from the bond will cover half his salary allowing the district to hire a Director on Special Assignment to cover part of his high school responsibilities.
Additional enrollment has brought the need for additional staffing and the dollars to pay for these positions. The district is required to set aside at least 2% of basic revenues for staff development. Part of these funds will be used to hire a new coordinator in the Teaching and Learning Department to focus on testing and assessment and on high potential programming.
Additional certified staff will also be hired for special education positions. A teacher will be hired for Middle School West and a speech teacher and part time social worker will be added to the elementary staff.
Student participation in the STMA Cross Country program has increased in the last few years. It includes 140 runners about evenly split between boys and girls. This school year the group was led by a head coach and two assistants. The School Board authorized the hiring of a girls coach so next fall there will be a coach and an assistant for the boys and the same for the girls. The district will also be hiring an assistant golf coach.
STUDENT ART RECOGNITION
In further matters, the board recognized 20 student artists from all levels of the district including the Bright Beginnings program sponsored by Community Education.
Each art teacher was asked to choose one piece of art work to be displayed in the district office in February and March. School Board Chairman Jeff Lindquist read a statement congratulating the students and saying that “The St. Michael-Albertville School District fully embraces the arts and recognizes that a vibrant and robust arts education program is critical to a complete and balanced education for all students.”
The students who contributed art are Morgan Mitchell, Charlotte Harris, Thomas Hankkila, Steven Hemish, Zachary Marble, Shea Yaeger, Brock Apold, D’Von Berry, Jordan Clarke, Nick Hoefener, Ranier Mauersberger, Hannah Smith, McKinley Beaumont, Brittany Gertzen, Bella Heieie, Erin McDowell, Mason Mogard, Cole Hennen, Joseph Kragness, and Molly Meyer.
SCHOOL BOARD OFFICERS
Toward the end of the meeting, Jeff Lindquist announced that he would be stepping down as the Chair in order to spend more time on his employment. He will continue to sit on the board as a director.
The board followed his recommendation and elected Drew Scherber to take his place at the head of the group. Since Scherber had been serving as Treasurer, newly elected Director Kari Dwinnell was elected to that position. Gayle Weber will continue as Vice-Chair and Jennifer Peyerl as the Clerk.