District holds hope for 4-day weekAt a Lake Superior School District Board meeting Thursday, Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said he wants a meeting with Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Alice Seagren “immediately” to discuss why the district’s four-day week application was rejected.
At a Lake Superior School District Board meeting Thursday, Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said he wants a meeting with Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Alice Seagren “immediately” to discuss why the district’s four-day week application was rejected.
Board chairman Leo Babeu said this week that there are tentative plans to meet with Seagren next week.
According to a letter from the department released last week, the denial is based on two factors. The district failed to provide proof that students wouldn’t lose classroom time and didn’t convince the department that public meetings it held were specifically about the four-day week proposal.
“I don’t understand how we are so far off,” Minkkinen said of the classroom time. He also said he wanted to know where the department got the opinion that the four-day meetings with the public were more about the operating levy than the four-day week.
Minkkinen said he is also unaware of any rule that says the district can’t resubmit its application for the coming school year. In the rejection letter, the state said the district could not.
Babeu said among the questions he would like to ask include why the district wasn’t given guidance to adjust its submission to fulfill the state standards. He also wanted more detail on how they came up with their conclusions.
The board had been discussing spending $250,000 for three new buses. As of now, without an “intervention,” the board voted to delay the purchase of the buses. Minkkinen said that bus life spans are being pushed to the limit, including one that has been leaking antifreeze into the oil. There has also been a discussion focused on how the buses would be used.
District buses cover 450,000 miles per year in one of the largest school districts in the state. The purchase of buses has been delayed because of financial constraints and every year the buses get older it costs the district more money to maintain them, Minkkinen said.
Two buses would have been purchased for morning and afternoon routes. There was discussion the other would help with extra curricular activities in Silver Bay. That bus would cost about $30,000 more – it has storage capabilities but fewer seats – with the Silver Bay Athletic Council possibly spending $5,000 a year to make up the difference.
The board passed a resolution to seek bids for snow removal at both Two Harbors schools. The superintendent said the equipment for snow removal in Two Harbors is “pathetic” and suggested hiring out for the work because it could be a better service and likely cost less than maintaining the equipment. Board members indicated the city of Silver Bay helps out there. That’s not the case in Two Harbors.
Several employees accepted retirement incentives to help save the district money in the future. Under the proposal, employees who are eligible to retire under the provisions of Public Employees Retirement Association or the Teachers Retirement Association, would be offered up to 15 days of pay at their current rate if the employee decided to retire. Those who accepted the proposal include Two Harbors High School Principal Bob Nyberg, longtime administrative assistant Victoria DeLaRosby, and teachers Rebecca Casey and Christine Lind.