District #741 School Board
The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, April 8.
The board approved its list of budget adjustments for the 2003-04 school year. (See box here.)
Among the late additions is adding a competitive one-act play to the school budget for the 2003-04 school year with an estimated budget of $1,273 for advisor salary, transportation, and fees. The board also agreed to charge $25 per student for fine arts extracurriculars in the high school (speech, one-act play, drama productions, Pops Choir, and Jazz Band) and to charge $20 per student for fine arts extracurriculars in the middle school (speech and drama productions). Administrators predicted this would net $2,625 in additional revenue for the district.
The board approved offering one multi-age section of second and third graders in the 2003-04 school year. (See story here.)
The board approved a revised membership fee structure for the fitness center, effective May 1, 2003. The board had previously approved a fee schedule that would have raised rates even more, but opted for a smaller increase in the hopes that more memberships could be retained. New rates are $20 monthly for singles or $216 in full for the year; $30 monthly for couples or $324 in full; $35 monthly for families or $378 in full; and $10 monthly for youth (grades 9-12) or $108 in full.
To compensate for lower revenues, the fitness center will not open on Sundays, will not give salary increases to workers, will open a half hour less in the summer, and will reduce its annual contribution to an equipment fund to $2,000.
The board acknowledged written notice from the following unions to commence negotiations for new contracts: Paynesville Area Teachers Association; Food Service - Local 284; and Custodians - Local 284.
The board approved moving its meeting time on Tuesday, May 13, from 8 p.m. to 2 p.m. The meeting will be held in the middle school media center so the board can meet with the student advisory council.
The board heard from Diane Seegers, chemical health coordinator, and from two students about the school's new SADD chapter and new STAR program. The first program has broadened its efforts to include drugs and all destructive decisions, not just drunk driving. The second program teaches students to be nonjudgmental and respect their peers.
The board approved designating superintendent Howard Caldwell as the district voting representative for the group health insurance pool.
The board approved having Deb Gillman, principal on special assignment, apply for the title programs for the 2003-04 school year.
The board approved continuing with the district's teacher performance improvement program.
The board approved a new policy for employee privacy and disclosure of protected health information to comply with the federal rules for HIPAA.
The board approved dismissing seniors from school on either Tuesday, April 29, or Wednesday, April 30, to accommodate MCA testing for grades 10 and 11.
The board was informed by high school principal John Janotta that they intend to contract for searches by passive drug dogs at the high school. By contracting for these searches, they can be done more frequently than the county can do. The school district will use federal funds to pay for these searches. Janotta told the board that the message they wanted to send students was: don't even think about bringing drugs or alcohol into school.
Gillman told the board that staff did a great job in picking new text books during this year's purchasing cycle. All the teachers closely examined the materials available, and some declined to purchase new books unless they saw a clear improvement in the material, even knowing that their department would not have the chance to purchase new books for another six years.
Paynesville City Council
The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, April 9.
The council discussed a moratorium on issuing building permits for shingling, siding, and window installation but decided they could not for lack of legal basis. For now, the city will continue to charge for these building permits while it explores if it can opt out of requiring them for these type of projects. (See story here.)
The council reviewed a petition from residents and property owners along Lake Avenue who oppose extending a sidewalk from Main Street to First Street on the west side of Lake Avenue. City policy is to install sidewalks wherever possible as a safety measure, and the council agreed to follow that policy in regards to Lake Avenue. (See story here.)
The council approved purchasing a new police squad car from Superior Ford for $21,012. No tax or license fees are required for police vehicles.
The council approved purchasing a tazer for the police department for $894 plus tax and shipping. A tazer administers an electric shock to control dangerous or violent suspects. According to police chief Tony Schmidt, the device is highly effective while it is unlikely to cause any permanent harm. The Stearns County Sheriff's Department will provide tazer training to police personnel at no charge.
The council approved new fees for dog, cat, and kennel licenses in the city. Fees for dog and cat licenses are $5 for spayed or neutered animals and $10 for nonspayed or nonneutered animals before July 1, and $10 for spayed or neutered animals and $20 for nonspayed or nonneutered animals after July 1.
The kennel fee ($20), charged in addition to individual license fees, applies to anyone with more than three animals.
New fees for other city licenses will be addressed at the next city council meeting.
The council accepted a bid for $87,400 from TMI Coatings to paint the city water tower. The council also approved purchasing three drums of a product that will help keep the city's water clean while the water tower is being painted at an estimated cost of $2,000.
The council approved accepting a bid from R&R Masonry, Inc., for $1,450 plus the cost of fill for sidewalk repairs at the Paynesville Municipal Liquor Store.
The council approved merging the environmental advisory committee with the environmental committee and also appointed Urban Fuchs to the new committee.
The council heard a verbal report from city administrator Steve Helget regarding the contract for police service for Paynesville Township. The current contract states that police service will be provided to the township and the price will be based on the previous year's use. The contract was reviewed by the police committee, which recommended it remain unchanged, after city council member Harlan Beek suggested last month that the township should pay more for their police service.
The city heard a verbal report from public works director Ron Mergen regarding the proposal for the city to build a BMX facility at its well site between Highway 55 and Spruce Street. Mergen has gotten information from the League of Minnesota Cities that outlines some of the guidelines for building and maintaining such a facility and has also found two local volunteers, both of them BMX riders who have help build other courses, who want to help design the course.
The city is considering using the dirt from its two construction projects this summer to create a BMX course, but the council has yet to give approval to the project.
The council heard a verbal report from city engineer Pete Carlson regarding the Paynesville Regional Airport. Carlson explained that a low cost method of containing stormwater runoff is to use berms, instead of ponds, that will channel water and allow it to soak back into the ground more quickly than in a pond.
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