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Lancaster School Board Proceedings May 30, 2019

The Lancaster School Board met in special session on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. in the cafeteria. The following members were present: Diamond, Homstad, Langerud, Lupien, and Nordin. Also present were Supt. Shannon Hunstad, Teacher Rep. Cory Waling, Mendy Coffield, and many visitors.  Absent: Justin Peterson
Chairperson Diamond called the meeting to order and took roll call.
The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by those in attendance.
Chairperson Diamond welcomed everyone for coming to this special board meeting. Chairperson Diamond also noted that Justin Peterson was not able to attend as he was on a family vacation. We had planned for Peterson to join us via Skype, but due to state statute, but we are not able to do this. Peterson is listening in, but cannot partake or be part of tonight’s meeting.
Chairperson Diamond stated the Visitor procedure allowing 5 minutes per person located on the back of the agenda will be followed. Please come up to the podium if you wish to speak.
Chairperson Diamond stated that before we get to Visitors Comments, Supt, Hunstad will explain our agenda item for tonight.
Supt. Hunstad thanked everyone for coming. He also noted that it is his responsibility to inform the board when changes and adjustments need to be made to the budget.  The decision involves many factors. Supt. Hunstad noted he will stick to the budget and enrollment for reasons to explain this recommendation.
1. The 2018/19 final budget is projected to deficit spend $52,637.
2. The projected June preliminary budget was discussed with three different scenarios:
a. Projected budget with health insurance increase: -$36,883.
b. Projected budget with Board’s first proposal for Teacher Negotiations: -$57,526
c. Projected budget with Teacher’s first proposal for Teacher Negotiations: -$115,831
Each of these budgets was also shown with the FCS/Bus. Ed programs net total of $62,204 being removed.
3. Supt. Hunstad reviewed the CTE Levy and explained how this funding works. CTE is figured on the percentage of classes taught to grades 9-12, multiplied by 35%. 2018/19 is 57%. 2019/20 will be discussed later tonight.
4. This school has had program reductions in the past: 2010 cuts to the Business Ed program.
5. MREA handouts on Referendums (Lancaster is the highest in the state) and Tax Rates (1.4909% – next closest school is at .90) were reviewed. Lancaster is the highest in the state. Thirty-five percent of the district’s land is in CRP which is taxed at a lower rate. Supt. Hunstad and George Hanson plan to work together to try to get this changed.
6. The renewal of one of the existing referendums is in 2020 ($1675). Supt. Hunstad does not want to go back to the voters and ask for more. He also noted we can’t keep deficit spending year after year. The fund balance cannot withstand it.
7. The Class Registration timeline was discussed:
• The 2019/20 High School Schedule discussions with Teaching Staff began on March 29th. Schedules were updated based on these discussions.
• Mock scheduling for grades 7-12 was held April 9th to 11th. The schedule was tweaked based on the student’s registration and their comments on which classes they would like to take.
• Final Registration for grades 7-12 was on May 1st. Supt. Hunstad met with the students in the following weeks and also had some parent conversation regarding the schedules as well.
• This leads us to the current FCS/Business Ed elective class sizes. Of the 4 electives, only four students have registered as shown below:
o Textiles: 1 student registered
o Food Science and Wellness: 1 (loss of Career Tech Ed (CTE) funding).
o Advanced Computer Applications: 0 (loss of CTE funding).
o Personal Finance Management-Semester 1: 2
o Personal Finance Management-Semester 2: 0 (loss of CTE funding).
8. The FCS/Bus Ed. Teacher’s salary breakdown was reviewed. $10,890 will be received from the CTE Levy in 2019/20. In 2019/20, the projection is $6,357 as it will drop from 57% to 33% of allowable offerings.
Supt. Hunstad read aloud the resolution from the December 2018 board meeting which was voted on and passed at that time: Be It Resolved, that the Board of Education of Independent School District 356, as follows:  That the School board hereby directs the Superintendent of Schools and administration to consider the discontinuance of programs or positions, to effectuate economies in the school district and reduce expenditures, and, as a result of a reduction in enrollment, make recommendations to the school board for the discontinuance of programs, curtailment of programs, and discontinuance of positions or curtailment of positions.
Supt. Hunstad stated “per the Teacher Contract we only have until June 1st to make this happen or it’s not an option. As Supt. of this district, if I didn’t bring it to them, I would not be doing my job. The employee was sent an email and also sent by certified mail so she knew what was going to happen. I didn’t want any surprises for this employee.”
Chairperson Diamond thanked Supt. Hunstad for his comments.
Chairperson Diamond then opened the meeting to visitor comments.   Eight individuals addressed the Board and their input was received a considered.
1.     Cory Waling – concerns about reducing and eliminating programs, this program is not taught by anyone else, 8-period day, timing was fast.
2.     Emily Schmiedeberg – FCCLA member, concerned about the FCS program being cut.
3.     Justina Pietruszewski – Tri-County FCS Teacher, important program.
4.     Lisa Rynning – struggling with cutting this program, what does this mean for the other programs, appears we lack stability, difficult to attract new teachers and retain them.
5.     Becky Johnson – FCS should not be eliminated, willing to give up $5,000 Innovation Grant to help fund the salary.
6.     Tiffany Sjostrand – concerned about losing the program, not being informed of budget issues like past Supt. had informed the staff, this doesn’t feel like a budget issue, many students need this program, what will they take in place of it.
7.     Ken Peterson – this is losing two programs, not one, referendum, open enrollment, FCCLA.
8.     Emma Levenhagen Vela – FCCLA member concerned about losing FCS program.
Chairperson Diamond thanked each for their comments.
At the conclusion of the visitor comments, Chairperson Diamond asked if there were any others. Hearing none, he moved to continue with board discussion.
Homstad stated he was alarmed at the low participation numbers in these classes.
Lupien noted it was a lot of money to support just 1-2 kids per class.
Supt. Hunstad was asked to address the FCCLA question. He had contacted the National FCCLA Office, and FCCLA could still be offered if we teach FCS in grades 4, 5 or 6th grade.
Langerud asked Supt. Hunstad if the program could come back in the future?   As enrollment comes back, this can certainly be discussed.
Nordin inquired about future numbers. 2020/21 enrollment will increase by 7, the following year will be 15 new students.
Diamond asked about re-offering those classes  later for those who missed them. Supt. Hunstad said we can certainly entertain it at that time.
Chairperson Diamond asked the Board if there were any more questions. Hearing none, Chairperson Diamond then proceeded to Supt. Hunstad’s proposed resolutions.
On a motion by Nordin, Second by Langerud, and carried: Be it Resolved, that the Board of Education of Independent School District 356, approves the elimination of the Family Consumer Science/Business Education programs effective immediately.
On a motion by Homstad, Second by Lupien, and carried: Be it Resolved, that the Board of Education of Independent School District 356, approves the elimination of the Family Consumer Science/ Business Education Teacher position effective immediately.
The next regular board meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 19th at 8:00 pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m. on a motion by Langerud, seconded by Nordin. UC.
James Diamond, Chairperson        Lacey Lupien, Clerk
(June 26, 2019)

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