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Zach Stich | Daily Journal

Explanation: Fergus Falls School District business manager Mark Masten talks to the school board about the updates that were done to the schools in the district. Masten announced he will be retiring after 2019.

On Monday, the Fergus Falls School Board accepted the retirement of business manager Mark Masten and discussed the new name of the former Target building.

Masten has worked for Fergus Falls Public Schools since 1983 and will retire at the end of 2019. Masten has been influential on the school board helping guide several projects for the district from a financial standpoint for more than 30 years.

“I am sad to see that resolution come but we knew that it would come someday,” board chair Matthew Lemke said. The rest of the board agreed with Lemke and joked that they can get sentimental when Masten finally retires.

The board also agreed upon the new name for the future school at the former Target building as it will be known as Lincoln School. Board member Missy Hermes stated that the Fergus Falls School District has a long history of naming their schools after former presidents dating back to 1894. The motion for the new name passed unanimously.

Earlier in the meeting, the district’s principals presented before the board. McKinley and Adams elementary schools principal, Scott Colbeck, discussed a few issues that are being addressed at the elementary level. Colbeck showcased a button that read “95%, ask me! Attendance matters,” to the board. Colbeck explained that they have discovered that students that attend 95% of their classes through the school year have found more success in the classroom. Buttons were passed out to all the elementary school teachers to show support for the idea.

Next to present was Cleveland Elementary School Principal Tindy Rund. Rund discussed several of the activities that went on at Cleveland during the summer and mentioned several updates to the front office including a new intercom system. During the summer, the school also created a drop-off/pick-up area on the northside boulevard at the school. Rund explained that they hoped to increase the safety of the students before and after school hours with the new area.

Lastly, Rund mentioned that two second-grade classrooms have moved to Cleveland. Second-grade teachers John Demuth and Katelyn Lillis will be added to the building’s staff. With all the classrooms at the school, Rund estimates that each will have 24-26 students per class.

Kennedy Secondary School (KSS) Principal Dean Monke mentioned Wednesday’s “Back-to-School Night” at KSS. The event is a way for students to get to know where their classes are when the year starts. The event will begin at 4 p.m. for fifth-graders and every hour for the next grade through ninth grade.

“It is extremely important for all our students and parents to show up here Wednesday evening,” Monke said. “The big carrot there for our seventh- and eighth-graders is that they will get their schedule that evening if they show up.”

Masten would follow Monke to discuss several of the facilities updates in the district. A few of the major updates were replacing the lower-level and gymnasium floors at Adams school, repairing the roof at Roosevelt school and completing the pipes in the KSS pool.

Superintendent Jeff Drake had a brief report. Drake acknowledge, as well as all principals, the hard work that both the custodial and technology staffs did to get the district ready for the school year.

Following Drake, Masten would again address the board after realizing he forgot to update them on the Target building. The business manager stated that the reports on asbestos, environmental and structural aspects of the building were all clean. He explained that the only issues that the property had were the heating/cooling/ventilation units on the roof were  old and the parking lot needed an overlay. Masten stated that the school’s project will not make use of the units because they are going to build their own ventilation for the space being used.

Masten also initiated the second of two $10,000 payments that needed to be put in escrow to close on the property. The district is 30 days away from closing and will look to begin selling bonds for the property in the near future.

In other new business, the board approved an hiring of Laura Braun as the addition KSS noon-hour/hallway supervisor, designated Drake an “Identified Official with Authority” for the Minnesota Department of Education, and approved a contract revision with Lakes Country Service Cooperative for early childhood services.

A board also acknowledged a donation by the Class of 1979 and Tammy Johnson to the Otter Angel Account, an account created to anonymously assist families unable to pay for student meals.

General consent items

Support staff hires:

• Hayley Sokness, student service coordinator

• Anna Rethwisch, computer lunch/cafeteria

• Jessica Aschnewitz, dishwasher/cafeteria

• Maija Hanson, assistant server/cafeteria

• Kristi Edman, KSS computer lunch/cafeteria

• Marlyne Johnson, KSS noon hour supervisor

• Ashley Thompson, KSS noon hour supervisor

• Shonelle Edenloff, special education paraprofessional

Support staff resignations:

• Tammy Bauer, special education paraprofessional

Certified teaching staff hire:

• Jennifer Carlson, elementary teacher substitute

Head coach resignation:

• Randy Hansen, head boys’ track and field coach

2019-20 certified staff overload contracts:

• Brad Strand, additional .1667 FTE (college pre-calculus)

•Jamie Lill, additional .0909 FTE (physical education)

•Michelle Danielson, additional .0714 FTE (music)

The next school board meeting will be Monday, Sept. 9 at 5:15 p.m. at Kennedy Secondary School in the Otter Community Room.

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