by Dave DeMars
After welcoming new member Jeremy Snoberger to fill a vacant seat, a full-strength Sartell-St. Stephen School Board met last month and approved the redesign of the the district website.
After a short presentation by Sarah Kleppe, district communications coordinator, on the need for an upgraded website, the board approved a contract with Blackboard to host the new-and-improved website. Cost for the upgrade will be $10,381 for the first year, and $5,210 for subsequent years.
“And the price is fantastic,” said board member Pam Raden.
Normally, updates and upgrades are performed about every 18 to 24 months. It has been eight years since the district has updated its website. The cost of an upgrade of the kind the district is doing is usually two to three times more than the price being charged the district, Raden said.
Other action items
There are about 50,000 cubic yards of excess dirt piled at the new high-school construction site, and according to Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert, the dirt needs to be moved soon. The dirt is actually owned by the contractor doing the building of the new high school.
After a lengthy discussion, the board authorized Schwiebert to negotiate an agreement with the City of Sartell to provide 15,000 cubic yards of dirt to the city for use on the ball field at Champion Field. About 7,500 cubic yards will be transported by the city, and 7,500 by contractors who are building the high school.
Providing dirt to the city for use on the baseball field will have a cost value of about $70,000, which will be taken from the long-term facility and maintenance fund. Schwiebert emphasized this is actually a cost since the contractor actually owns the excess dirt in accordance with the bidding on the new high school.
This dirt contribution to the city and the Sartell Baseball Association would be in lieu of an agreed-upon monetary contribution to the city of $15,000 for the next several years for use of the fields. The SBA actually manages the fields for the city.
“Everybody wants the dirt we have,” Schwiebert said, “because the sand and the black dirt are of the right makeup.”
The final item of action was the approval of a resolution for the hiring of personnel and filling of vacant positions. There was no discussion and the resolution passed unanimously.
The board heard from the representatives of Winkelman Building Corp. as to progress on the new high school. The project is moving ahead on schedule. It’s expected the walls of the new high school will be up by the end of November and the long steel span that will be the roof of the gym will be in place the first week in January.
The state is reviewing plans and should return them next week, and then above-grade permits can be issued.
It was pointed out the building of the new high school is being done primarily by contractors located within 14 miles of the project rather than by contractors from out of the area. That means the money spent on the building stays in the area and provides jobs for local workers, a point of which Winkelman Building Corp. is proud.
Schwiebert provided an update on student enrollment and explained there are two ways of figuring enrollment. One is students in the seats and the other is budget enrollment, the figure the state uses to determine how much state funding the school district will be granted. It’s affected by such things as Post Secondary Enrollment Options and Student Assistance in Learning. The district does not receive full funding for PSEO and SAIL students since they are not on campus full time. Presently there are 34 PSEO students, 17 of whom are full-time students attending college or technical school elsewhere.
Using the budget count approach, there has been an increase of 36 students since the spring of 2017.
The board went into closed session to discuss negotiations strategy at the end of the meeting.
Author: Dave DeMars
Born and raised in Wisconsin – a “Happy Days” high school experience. Attended UW-River Falls and followed their motto – “Where the free spirit prevails.” Four years in the Army Security Agency (Spies), 31 years teaching English and directing plays. Other jobs – gandy dancer, counselor at mental institution, snowmaker, apple picker, concrete finishing, janitor, furniture mover, appliance sales, insurance sales, media sales, real estate, and writer. I am skeptical to a fault and like all human being I am more oxymoron than I am anything else. I blog at http://www.curmudgeonstwist.net/