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Paynesville Press - April 30, 2003

Paynesville area meetings

Paynesville School District   •    Paynesville City Council   •    Paynesville Area Hospital District

District #741 School Board

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, April 22.

•The board reiterated its intention to offer a multiage classroom of second and third graders in the 2003-04 school year, following a meeting with three board members, administration, and some elementary teachers. The board also indicated that adding a fourth section - with an additional teacher costing the district $40,000 or so - was not an option. Without the multiage classroom, third grade would need to be divided into three sections with class sizes around 26 students.

The board welcomed suggestions from the teachers if they have a better no-cost solution in case a multiage classroom cannot be ready for next fall, but board members expressed confidence that it could.

•The board continued to discuss a policy for concerns, complaints, or conflicts with district employees. The proposed policy states: "The purpose of this policy is to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from conflicts to do with District 741 employees. It is the District's obligation to insure that the behavior and conduct of employees is acceptable and conducive to beneficial educational experiences for students. Concerns and complaints about the job performance and behavior of employees and reports about the conflicts between and/or against employees of District 741 may not be conducive to beneficial educational experiences for students. It shall be the policy of this School District to handle such complaints with care and discretion and to ensure the due process right of employees."

One debated point concerns the administration of this policy: whether all complaints should be kept in each employee's personnel file or not? Keeping all these complaints in each personnel file would be simpler for recordkeeping purposes than having a separate file, but there are questions if frivolous complaints should be kept this way.

The board is expected to continue to discuss this new policy at its upcoming meetings.

•The board authorized the district to pursue replacements for the following teaching positions: high school business education, high school physical education, middle/ high school science, and three elementary teachers.

•The board approved not renewing the contract of high school science teacher Melissa Bergeson, a probationary teacher.

•The board authorized having superintendent Howard Caldwell obtain bids for more duct cleaning at the high school. The district has already had some duct cleaning done as a health measure, and more cleaning has already been approved by the state to be paid with money from the health and safety levy.

The board expects to open the bids in May.

•The board approved leasing its building at 115 East Mill Street to Reach-Up Headstart for the 2003-04 school year. Rent will continue to be $250 per month.

•The board approved hiring Frieler, Habben, and Company to perform the district's financial audit for the 2002-03 school year.

• The board approved hiring Wayne Hansen to teach summer IPS and Karen Mumm-Thompson to teach Early Childhood Special Education.

•The board approved these career increments for the teaching staff: 35 years - Diane Nelson; 30 years - Robert Bowden, Darrel Carstens, Cheryl Colbert, Richard Houske, and Berniece Voss; 25 years - Connie Backes, Margaret Barnacle, Gwynne Nichols, Beth Realdsen, and Bill Ryan; 20 years - Bill Virant and Barbara Werlinger.

• The board approved issuing diplomas to members of the Class of 2003 who successfully complete the necessary requirements for graduation. The graduation ceremony this year will be held on Sunday, June 8.

Paynesville City Council

The Paynesville City Council took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, April 23.

•The council was presented with its 2002 audit report. The city has over $1.9 million in cash in its general fund and nearly $6.3 million in all its accounts, including those for restricted uses. (Full audit story)

•The council approved paying $12,006 to Paynesville Township for 2001 and 2002 property taxes on land that has been annexed to the city, in accordance with the orderly annexation agreement between the city and the township. According to the agreement, when property is annexed to the city, the township will continue to receive 90 percent of the property taxes it would have collected in the first year, 70 percent in the second year, 50 percent in the third year, 30 percent in the fourth year, and 10 percent in the fifth year.

•The council approved holding a special city council meeting on Wednesday, April 30, at 6 p.m. to discuss, approve, and make an offer to one of the police officer candidates. Interviews for the position have been completed and background checks should be back by Tuesday, April 29, when the personnel committee will meet and narrow the field to one applicant.

The city is hiring a new officer after promoting Kent Kortlever as the new chief. He will replace Tony Schmitt, who is retiring at the end of May.

•The council approved giving the wellhead protection committee $1,250 to hold a water festival for fifth graders at Paynesville Area Elementary School. The festival will be held on Friday, May 16, at the Veteran's Memorial Park and will teach youngsters the importance of streams, lakes, and groundwater.

•The council heard a verbal report from city administrator Steve Helget regarding the Paynesville Regional Airport. According to Helget, 60 percent of the cost of stormwater control portion of the project will be covered by the state, compared to 80 percent the state will pay for the remainder of the project.

Also, since the total project will cost less than originally estimated, the airport commission is considering building a 10-unit hangar.

•The council approved an agreement for a contribution to the Lake Avenue Stormwater Improvement Project from the Paynesville Area Health Care System. Under the agreement, PAHCS will pay $25,000 toward the improvements.

•The council approved hiring Alice Nyhlen as the city's new part-time cable coordinator.

Paynesville Area Hospital District

The Paynesville Area Hospital District Board of Directors took the following actions at their meeting on Wednesday, April 23.

•The board was informed by CEO Steve Moburg that Pam Boettcher has been hired as the new business office manager. She was hired from a field of approximately 30 applicants. A new CFO has not been hired yet, but 59 applicants have been received for this position.

•The board heard a report from Moburg regarding a compensation survey being done for the Paynesville Area Health Care System (PAHCS) by Management Science Associates. This survey was deemed necessary by the administration and the personnel committee due to the fact that salaries vary greatly and that some staff are not being compensated fairly. The goals of the survey were to create wage scales that are externally competitive, internally equitable, and recognize longevity.

Moburg stated that compensation should be based on the job value to the organization. He added that there will be more consistancy in the pay scales in the future.

•The board was informed that five auditing firms have expressed interest in providing services to the organization. These firms will receive a request for submitting a proposal, with responses by mid-May.

"We want the best auditing firm that is the best fit for us," said Angela Meagher, an accountant in the business office. "We need someone with rural health care, long-term care, and clinic experience," she added.

•The board accepted the resignation of James Richter, M.D., from the medical staff.

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