Making a point

Fergus Falls School Board member Stephen Vigesaa made a point during Monday night’s first meeting of 2020. Vigesaa informed the board about Minnesota School Board Association priorities for the upcoming state legislative session.

Matt Lemke, Melanie Cole, Missy Hermes and Kirby Anderson were all nominated to retain their jobs on the District 544 School Board Monday evening during the reorganization meeting.

Lemke will once again serve as board chair while Cole serves as vice chair, Hermes serves as clerk and Anderson fills the position of board treasurer. All four nominees received unanimous consent from their fellow board members. 

Approval was given to a motion by Cole to set the base salary at $475 a month for board members, a stipend of $500 for Certified Contract Negotiations Committee members and a $25 per hour salary for any meetings outside of the basic salary conditions.

The board also acted on meeting dates, locations and times, a mileage rate, selected The Daily Journal as the school’s official newspaper, passed a resolution authorizing wire transfers by four office employees (Blake Stoltman, Sheri Smith, Marcy Clausen and Kelly Nelson), designated Security State as the official depository, passed a resolution authorizing the employment of legal counsel, acknowledged participation in the Minnesota School District Liquid Assets Fund, established which committees board members will serve upon, proposed 2020 negotiations representatives and set the 2020 monthly school board meeting schedule. 

All six board members offered their reports. In making his report to the board, Superintendent Jeff Drake thanked Lemke for encouraging him to run for a seat on the Minnesota Rural Education Association Board of Directors. Drake will begin three years of service to the board Feb. 4.

General consent items approved included six personnel hires: Sabrina Noon, head girls volleyball; Heidi Brown, special education paraprofessional substitute at Kennedy; Jessica Hexum, paraeducator at the Area Learning Center; Lori Jensen, LPN at Kennedy; Thao Drussell, ESL teacher iQ Academy; Michelle Haukos, worked-based learning teacher at iQ Academy; and Dianne Anderson, special ed teacher at iQ Academy. Included in the general consent items was a 2019-2021 agreement with the Fergus Falls Principals Association.

New business saw the board conduct the first reading of a tentative Fiscal Year seniority list for the district and pass a resolution supporting local school board control. In reading the resolution Lemke pointed out nine reasons why local school board control are best positioned to meet the needs and challenges for the students, staff, parents and community members.

Stephen Vigessa, the board’s legislative liason, called the support for the resolution “a strategic move, but a good one.”

The next meeting of the board will be held Monday, Jan. 27 at 5:15 p.m. in the Otter Community Room.

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