Swim club asks for reduced fees
A 30 percent increase on pool-use fees is too much to bear, members of the Red Wing Swim Club told the board Monday night.
This year, the district raised the price the club pays to use the pool at Twin Bluff Middle School from $12.90 an hour to $17.50.
The club is a non-profit community organization and provides coaches and hosts swim meets for children ages 6 to 18. Club members, parents and members of their board filled the City Hall council chambers Monday night.
“That increase is a substantial and undue burden on our swim club,” co-president Perry Sekus said.
Sekus, a former School Board member, added that the club’s goal is to get more children involved. He said the club would have to raise member fees, and many parents won’t be able to afford membership.
Board member Mitch Boldt said the 30 percent increase was caused by keeping facility-use fees flat for many previous years.
“It’s an unintended consequence of trying to maintain for too long,” he said.
Sekus asked that the board consider a reduced fee or spreading the increase out over time. Boldt said the club’s request “starts the ball rolling,” but that the board wasn’t equipped to make a decision at Monday’s meeting.
Wettern hired as director of community education
The board approved the hiring of Dawn Wettern as director of Community Education, Recreation and Communications. She previously served as assistant director of community education and is currently serving as the interim director of community education.
Wettern will begin her new position July 1 with a salary of $93,500.
The district had 25 applicants for the position. Three candidates were interviewed by district administration and members of the Community Education Advisory Council.
“We really believe we chose the right person,” Supt. Karsten Anderson said of Wettern’s appointment.
Teacher, paraprofessional positions reduced
The board made resolutions reducing several teaching and paraprofessional positions. One American Sign Language interpreter and eight paraprofessionals were terminated, and five tenured teachers were placed on unrequested leaves of absence.
Supt. Karsten Anderson said the reductions were due to discontinued programs or reductions in students. He added that some of the affected employees will automatically be offered part-time positions; others may be called back in the fall.
“This is a process we go through every spring,” board Chairman Mitch Boldt said. “If we don’t do it, then we have a teacher we don’t have a class for and no way to remedy it.”
Terminations: Jessica (Hinde) Provancha, American Sign Language interpreter; Michelle Anderson, paraprofessional; Catherine Buss, paraprofessional; Janice Carter, paraprofessional; Stacy Covey, paraprofessional; Broderick Dressen, paraprofessional; Laura Green, paraprofessional; Carianne Roschen, paraprofessional; Dana Willis-Jick, paraprofessional.
Unrequested leave of absence: Brian Cashman, Elizabeth Kittleson, Gaye Menke, Karin Meyer, Emily Seefeldt.
Bergwall Arena sale finalized
The sale of Bergwall Arena to Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical was finalized March 30, Finance Director Brad Johnson told the board Monday.
The college paid $900,000 for the ice arena, and the district received a check at the end of last month. Part of the money was used to repay a $157,635 loan from Community Education. The remaining money was put in the district’s operating capital reserve as required by state law.
The college first approached the district about buying the property in early 2011. Southeast Tech plans to tear down the crumbling building — which is located adjacent to the college’s campus — to expand its allied health program.
The district will now lease the arena from the college for $1 per year for the next two years — barring any serious repair needs. That will give the district and community time to plan for the arena’s replacement.
District leases more space in Tower View
The district approved a lease for more space in the Anderson Center. The additional room, located in the center’s basement, will be utilized by the Tower View Alternative Learning Center.
The district will pay an additional $2,500 for the room, bringing total bi-annual rent for Anderson Center space to $13,750.
Board member Dennis Porter called the price a bargain. “Anytime space comes up, especially at this price, you better grab it,” he said.
The board approved the following personnel changes:
Medical leave: Mike Moldenhauer, custodian at RWHS, effective March 12.
Monday’s meeting lasted about 2.5 hours before going into closed session to discuss former student Quera Pruitt’s lawsuit against the district. Board member Paul Kramp was absent; Board member Steve Anderson left after about 1.5 hours.
— Compiled by Sarah Gorvin, staff writer