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home : government : government May 31, 2016

4/25/2013 2:47:00 PM
SafeLink to provide school district drivers

By Nora Bryson

The Cannon Falls School Board failed to approve the 1.0 FTE (Full-time equivalent) Elementary Physical Education (PE), Round III reduction at the Monday night, April 22nd, meeting. A "resolution to non-renew" another PE contract was approved, as was a two-year contract with SafeLink for providing bus drivers, and changes to the Activities Handbook. Administration of Booster Clubs and security at the fieldhouse were briefly discussed. Cannon Falls Police Chief McCormick's presentation on the benefits of a police liaison and board action to approve a liaison police officer joint agreement with the City of Cannon Falls was tabled indefinitely (see related article).

The $48,484 estimated savings from eliminating a 1.0 FTE Elementary Physical Education (PE) position was reconsidered and ultimately fell victim to DAPE (Developmental Adapted Physical Education) requirements. Board members thanked the administration, especially Elementary Principal Derek Bell, for trying to use out-of-the-box thinking to creatively cut costs and save the District money.

Superintendent Beth Giese pointed out that the board had already approved one, 1.0 FTE cut to PE that they would be non-renewing in the New Business portion of the meeting. Board Chair Bob Brintnall and member Jerry Reinardy concurred.

In addition, Reinardy pointed out that it made no sense to eliminate this position only to have to turn around a try to find a part-time DAPE instructor.

Board member Pat Dougherty voiced his concern about having just one teacher for 500 students and the confusion caused by combining positions to cover PE.

Board member Curt Beissel felt cutting the position would create scheduling hassles.

The board voted unanimously not to pursue the proposed, Round III PE reduction.

In a 6 to 0 roll-call vote, the board passed a "resolution to non-renew Kevin Landry's (PE) teaching contract due to reductions in student enrollment and financial limitations" according to previously approved budget cuts.

The board approved a two-year contract with Andy Sandstrom's contracted bus-driver services, SafeLink, and authorized the administration to "work out the details."

SafeLink was first discussed back at the March 25 meeting. Brintnall and Giese explained that having SafeLink employ the bus drivers and take care of dispatching and routing was the best transportation alternative. It allowed the district to maintain its assets (the buses, the land, and the garage) while savings huge amounts in worker's comp and health insurance (SafeLink would be below the 50-employee ObamaCare threshold) costs. Savings are projected to be at least $10,000. This doesn't take into account the administrative and para time saved.

Board member Rob Siebenaler and Brintnall gave a quick summary of the issue. They explained how they have considered the entire gambit from selling everything to the status quo of owning everything. They met with Benjamin Bus of Northfield and Tom Burr of the Elk River District. They discussed the need to purchase or lease new buses in the very near future. They felt SafeLink was a very good, middle of the road compromise while the new health care laws were getting worked out.

According to the district's lawyers, there is no need to go out for bids because it would be considered a "continuing/expanded contract" with Sandstrom. Some details (like who carries the passenger insurance) are still being worked out, but Giese was confident there wouldn't be any problems. Brintnall noted that the bus drivers have yet to be notified.

The Activities Handbook was approved without discussion.

The Financial Report shows sturdy, black figures to the end of the year and passed with ease.

Proper control and administration of the District's several Booster Clubs were discussed. Brintnall, Beissel, and Reinardy had all attended a Minnesota School Board Association breakout session where state director Dave Steed made the case that "fewer is better" and makes Title 9 compliance easier. According to Beissel, Steed felt that districts should have only one main Booster Club with several smaller groups feeding into it. Each group would have its own budget and fundraisers, but funds gathered in excess of budgetary needs would be split.

"We need to see all the dollars coming in and going out to these groups," Reinardy stated. "After all, we're responsible for all of them."

Beissel and Reinardy requested that Community Education and Athletic Director, Jake Winchell, schedule a meeting with all the booster club chairpersons to figure out how to comply with the state's recommendations.

There was a brief discussion about security at the fieldhouse and the need for better monitoring. Head of Operations and Maintenance, Dave Davisson, said he felt three cameras costing about $2,000 (includes installation) would do the trick. Beissel asked about having a policy addressing consequences for the destruction of property. High School Principal Tim Hodges and Giese said they would prefer to go on a case-by-case basis utilizing local law enforcement and not be ham-strung with policy.

Student Representative Ryan Foster reported that the Speech Team had seven students in finals at State Tournament last Saturday at Blaine. Sydney Erhardt was state champion. Becca Gesme placed 2nd, Kailee Stiles 3rd, Alex Traynor 4th, Hannah Brummund 6th, Josh Siebenaler 7th and Matt Lockett 8th. Overall, the team placed 4th out of 192 Minnesota Class A schools. Slice of Jazz concert was Sunday night. Cannon Falls Middle School/High School Art Show will be Saturday and Sunday, Apr. 27 and 28 in the High School atrium. Applications for Student Council are being accepted this week. Wednesday is a PLC, late-start day. It is the final week to purchase Prom tickets.

Dougherty reported that the Education Foundation's fundraiser, "Night at the Winery," on Saturday, April 20 at the Mill Street Tavern raised over $40,000. He thanked the community and everyone involved for making it a success.

The Board's summer meeting dates are scheduled as follows: May 20, June 24, July 22, August 26, and September 23. The board only meets once a month during the summer.

The next meeting will be Monday, May 20 at 6 p.m. Agenda items are: approval of a soccer program, the 2013-14 budget, insurance quotes, Minnesota State High School League resolution, 2013-15 paper quotes, SMS contract, and Athletic Trainer services agreement.

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