By Celeste Rapp
The Minnewaska Area School board held its first organizational meeting of the year on Jan. 4.
The first item of business was to select an acting chair for the meeting until an official chairperson was elected. Board member Nick Guggisberg nominated board member Jeff Holtberg as the acting chair for the meeting. Board member Chad Barsness seconded the nomination, and the motion was carried through unanimous vote.
The second item of business was to select an acting clerk for the meeting until an official clerk was elected. Board member Ted Reichmann nominated Gugisberg as the acting clerk for the meeting. Barsness seconded the nomination, and the motion was carried through unanimous vote.
Holtberg then executed the oath of office to the newly elected board members, Amanda Ogdahl and Angie Reichmann. The oath of office states, “It is an honor that you were elected to guide the education of our community’s children…. you assume a tremendous responsibility as a director of our school district with the duties empowered by the Minnesota Legislature.” It then goes on to state that the power school board members have puts them “in the position of being both morally and legally responsible for the equitable, quality education of every student in the district.”
Nominations for chairperson were then taken. Gugisberg nominated Barsness for the position of chairperson. Board member Justin Zavadil seconded the nomination. Barsness was elected chairperson through a unanimous vote.
Nominations for vice-chairperson took place. Holtberg nominated Zavadil for the role of vice-chairperson. Ted Reichmann seconded the nomination. Zavadil was elected vice-chairperson through a unanimous vote.
Nominations for the board’s clerk were performed. Ted Reichmann nominated Guggisberg to the position of clerk. The nomination was seconded by Barsness. Guggisberg was elected clerk through a unanimous vote.
The last elected position to be determined was for the board’s treasurer. Barsness nominated Ted Reichmann to the position of treasurer. Zavadil seconded the nomination. Reichmann was elected treasurer through a unanimous vote.
The Jan. 25, 2021 meeting of the board was approved. It will be a regular meeting to be held in the Minnewaska Area High School (MAHS) choir room at 7 p.m. At the Jan. 25 meeting, the meeting dates and times for the rest of the year will be determined.
In other business, the board:
• Approved the agenda as presented.
• Approved to designate all Pope County banks and the Minnesota Liquid Asset Fund as official depositories for the 2021 calendar year.
• Approved to designate the Pope County Tribune as the official district newspaper for the 2021 calendar year.
• Approved to set the mileage rate at $0.56 for the 2021 calendar year. The board follows the IRS standard mileage rate, which is down $1.50 from last year.
• Approved the use of machine signed checks for the 2021 calendar year.
• Approved electronic fund transfer by Vicki Moen and/or Charles (Chip) Rankin for the 2021 calendar year.
• Heard from Chairperson Chad Barsness and Rick Ellingworth that they should get their preferred committee appointments to Barsness so that committee assignments could be made.
• Approved to authorize administrative personnel to contact legal counsel to deal with legal issues as necessary and in a timely manner.
• Appointed Superintendent Rankin as Title I LEA Representative.
• Heard an update from Ted Reichmann on the COVID Crisis Team. He said that the meeting was pretty quiet and that they were brought numbers by the Horizon Public Health representative. Numbers have gone down and are looking good, but he said “We’re not out of the woods yet. Don’t take the numbers for granted, we need another week or two before there are solid numbers [after the holidays].”
• Heard an update from Interim Superintendent Rick Ellingworth on the seventh through twelfth graders. He said that there have been a number who have fallen behind and that there’s a large number who are using designated time with their teachers to go into the school and get help. MAHS science teacher and Minnewaska Teacher’s Association representative Chris Bennes said that the holidays fell at a good time for students to get more time to catch up to where they need to be.