Rush City schools look to fill board seat vacancy

The Rush City School Board on April 18 decided to seek applications rather than nominating someone to fill the board seat vacated by Channa Tastsides.

Tastsides, who served on the board for 3 1/2 years, turned in her resignation due to her family moving to Cambridge. In March, board members accepted her resignation and declared the position vacant at the conclusion of last week’s meeting.

On Tuesday night, the board opted to seek applications from those interested in serving the rest of Tastsides’ term through December 2013. Superintendent Vern Koepp said the appointed person may file for the election this fall if he or she is interested in competing for a regular term of four years beginning on Jan. 1, 2014.

People who are interested in the board position can apply in writing to: Rush City Schools District Office, P.O. Box 566, Rush City, MN 55069. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Monday, May 6, and contain the person’s name, address, contact information and why they want to serve on the Rush City School Board.

Board members will then hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 8, to consider the applications and appoint someone to the vacant position. The appointee could take the oath of office at the May 16 board meeting and begin serving as board member that night.

The district office can be reached at 320-358-4855.

Staffing proposal, personnel actions

In reviewing a 2013-14 staffing proposal, board members agreed to add a half-time teacher at Jacobson Elementary to reduce class size for reading and math instruction at third grade.

As a result, Kristine Peterson will be reassigned to a full-time position at the elementary school and Grant Nicoll will be reassigned to a full-time position in high school social studies. A half-time physical education teacher also will be hired.

On personnel actions, board members:

• Accepted the resignations of art teacher Katherine Noble, assistant football coach Mike Saari, chemistry/physics teacher John Nolte, English teacher and All School Play director David Stevens and cook Jennifer Pearson.

• Approved a resolution relating to the termination and nonrenewal of the teaching contracts for Lila Bennett and Ben Mettling, both probationary teachers. Board members voted 4-2 on the latter action after closing for some time and reopening the public meeting.

• Approved an additional track coach for the 2012-13 season only and employing Mettling as a junior high track coach for that position.

• Approved an additional paraprofessional at the high school.

• Approved Mary Kurvers, who holds the technology integration position, to continue as a teacher on special assignment for the 2013-14 school year.

• Approved the employment of Elizabeth Carpenter, high school reading long-term substitute, April 8 through May 31; Daniel Kuchenbacker, high school art teacher; and Kathleen Stepp, paraprofessional, an increase from 12 hours a week to 30.5 hours per week.

High school report

High school principal Brent Stavig noted the 9-12 band students earned seven Superior ratings and eight Excellent ratings at the Minnesota State High School League Solo and Ensemble Contest. The Rush City Jazz Band also earned a Superior rating April 5 at Hinckley-Finlayson High School.

Stavig said 63 couples have signed up for prom Saturday, May 4, and graduation is scheduled for Sunday, June 2.

He recognized Angie Bohnert, Meghan Preissing and Shawn Chinn for their efforts in keeping the special education department strong while staff is shorthanded.

Elementary school news

Jacobson Elementary School Principal Melody Tenhoff said she met with PTO members and Jeanne Korf to review playground upgrades and funding for the playground.

The district will cover the cost of the playground border and mulch, she noted, and the elementary activity account will cover expenses that exceed the funds raised by the PTO for the project. Board members agreed by consensus to use rubber mulch instead of wood fiber mulch at the playground site.

In her report to the board, Tenhoff recognized the annual Inventors Fair and student music programs. “These programs provide additional opportunities for students to shine,” she said.

She noted the MCA tests are coming to an end, with nine math classes left to test. Because of technical difficulties across the state, she added, the school does have two additional reading tests to make up for the classes that were affected that day.

In other news, the board:

• Received negotiation notices from teacher, principal, food service/paraprofessional and custodian groups.

• Acknowledged that an anonymous donor purchased 38 track hurdles for about $3,200. Koepp also thanked the Grandy Lions for its recent donation of $10,000 in support of the summer recreation program.

• Learned the district has $2.1 million invested as of March 31, as reported by business manager Laureen Frost. She also reviewed the 2012-13 revenue and expenditure budget, noting that General Fund revenues were running about $365,000 less than expenditures to date.

• Listened to Koepp provide a summary of the topics discussed at a previous study session. Topics included a transition plan for the activities director position, fiscal year 2014 budget development including staffing proposals, technology considerations, the fund balance and discussion on a possible operating levy for security, technology or kindergarten.

• Approved the proposed aquatic center budget for 2013 and recommended fee structure, as presented by Bob Schlagel and Lee Rood. The proposed budget shows a deficit of $30,500, they presented. Otherwise, the Rush City pool appears in good shape and is scheduled to open June 3 until Aug. 25.

• Authorized the district to solicit quotes and bids for milk, fuel, snowplowing and food service products for the 2013-14 school year.

• Approved Kevin Smith and Mike Vaughan’s request for track and cross-country teams to serve as assistants at the Wild Mountain 5K Race in June.

• Agreed to get estimates and more information about including a sidewalk along Tiger Trail when the road is resurfaced. Bob Frandsen of the Rush City Park Board encouraged the board to consider the sidewalk.

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