School Board Update

February 2021

Meeting Overview

Each month the board is presented with non-action and action items for their consideration. A few noteworthy items from this month's meeting are included here.


Items Approved by the Board


The full board agenda can be found here.

Superintendent's Report - Dr. Rudolph

We were excited to recently launch our Community Task Force to help our district address the top challenges that we face and provide insight and guidance from a community perspective. The task force consists of 38 members and represents a very broad range of experience and expertise. At the February meeting, the members were assigned to one of four subgroups to take a deeper dive into some of the top priorities for the district to resolve. These subgroups include finance, teaching and learning, facilities, and operations. The past two meetings have focused on providing task force members with background information specific to the challenges our district faces. Our communities are the owners of our school district. We are greatly appreciative of the willingness of task force members to serve and to provide important perspectives and guidance.


Last night's board meeting included a great discussion about our district's fund balance policy and whether or not the fund balance policy should site an amount that aspires to financial health or a more realistic and compliant version of the policy that reflects current and realistic status. Through a thoughtful and lengthy discussion, the board recognized that there was really no wrong answer. The motion was made and a vote was passed 5-2 in favor of the motion to post the current fund balance policy within the range of 2-5% recognizing that this range does not reflect financial health, but rather where our district currently stands. We appreciate the thoughtful leadership of all board members through this discussion and considerations.

Administration Report Highlights

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & HUMAN RESOURCES

by: Shawn Kirkeide


The HR team has been busy this month. The annual OSHA 300 report has been submitted, which reports on the workman comp claims/incidents that have occurred in each of our buildings throughout the district. The Pay Equity report, which is required every three years to ensure men and women in similar positions are receiving equal pay, has also been submitted. The annual Teacher Seniority list draft has also been completed and recently sent out to all buildings and individual teachers to check for accuracy. After a review period, the list will be finalized and posted.


This year the district is required to go out for insurance bids, in order to abide by the HITA process. On January 28 we held a bid opening to review the new bids. Luckily, the bids look good with little to no increase from the specific vendors. The last and final bids are due on March 1, after which the Insurance Committee will review them on March 4. In other good news, the insurance claims for this year are also remaining steady and consistent with previous years


FINANCE AND OPERATIONS

by: Christopher Kampa, CFA


Finance

We are evaluating the financial outlook for the district amongst the ever-changing environment under COVID. We will bring a revised budget to the February meeting and will continue to examine the financial impact of the assumptions affecting next year’s budget.


Transportation

Transportation has faced numerous challenges over the past month as we are bringing our kids back to school. We are facing a severe driver shortage. We are using our mechanics, routers, and anyone with a proper license to drive buses. Fortunately, we have not had to cancel any routes or activities, but we’ve been close. We are trying to boost hiring, and we are reaching out to other agencies, but every district is in the same position and the labor market is tight.


Food Service

We’re excited to have students back in school. The biggest financial challenge facing Food Service is the lack of volume to drive revenue. The department has been hit hard financially due to COVID, but hopefully, now we can start to recover.


Building & Grounds

Normal operations have resumed now that students are back in the buildings. We are back to everyday-cleaning to ensure our buildings are disinfected and sanitized on a daily basis. Crews are reviewing summer cleaning needs and schedules. We are finalizing LTFM budgets and getting bids and quotes on upcoming summer projects. The department is also busy working with a newly formed Community Task Force to prioritize our district needs and looking at the best way to come up with creative solutions to help minimize the financial impact on the district.


COMMUNITY EDUCATION

by: Aviva Hillenbrand


This has been a busy time in Community Ed. We have worked to streamline our registration and payment processes for Driver’s Education which continues to be busy. We are currently taking registrations for July classes; all other classes have waiting lists.


We have reviewed our rates and program options for Preschool, Adventure Center School Age Care, and Adventure Center Preschool Childcare with the goal of ensuring we are priced correctly and our program options fit the needs of parents while allowing for a positive budget outcome.


We started offering professional development certificates and classes this session through the Learning Resource Network. We had six people register for these $500-$600 certificate programs. A tremendous start!


Although the current COVID-19 restrictions make offering group swim lessons extremely difficult, our Enrichment program is offering private lessons. These lessons have been very popular and allow us to provide limited programming in the pool. Additionally, we offer socially distanced lap swim and deep water swim.


TEACHING & LEARNING

by: Dr. Brenda Damiani


Professional Development

We are excited to welcome back Willow Sweeney for the February 16 Professional Development Day. All staff who are scheduled to work will join for this presentation. It will also be taped for viewing later. The rest of the day will be full of learning and collaboration opportunities for our licensed staff and administrative assistants. Topics include literacy instruction, content standards pacing and alignment, data and assessment, and the Marzano Focused Framework.


Technology

The 1,200 Chromebooks ordered for the 2020-21 school year in July have arrived! We are working on enrolling them into the Cambridge-Isanti Schools Google domain. These devices will greatly help our students this year as well as our Chromebook replacement plans for the future.


Data & Assessment

Message from MDE regarding Spring testing: “MDE’s priority is to protect the health and safety of students and staff throughout the assessment administration. Without further direction or instruction from the federal government, Minnesota is bound by federal and state law to administer the MCA and MTAS. Just like in previous years, the online Reading, Mathematics, and Science MCAs will be administered in person at school for spring 2021. There will not be an option to administer the test remotely.” The district will invite our students who are in the Distance Learning model to test in-person if they are able.


Federal Programs

The American Indian Parent Advisory Committee (AIPAC) met on February 2 to review revisions made to the Indian Education Program Plan (IEPP) and to take a vote of Concurrence or Nonconcurrence. The AIPAC made a vote of Concurrence to indicate that the school board and district are compliant with Minnesota Statutes and that the school board and district are meeting the needs of American Indian students.


The new 2-year grant cycle for the Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services (ADSIS) has been released by the Department of Education and is due on February 19. We are in the process of completing a Comprehensive Needs Assessment and reviewing winter benchmarks in order to complete the requirements for submission.


STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES

by: Julie Williams


Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)

The Special Education Advisory Council is meeting on February 16, 2021, for the second meeting of the year. This group brings parents and staff together to learn about resources to assist their students related to special education. It is a great group for connecting, learning, and networking! The February meeting will be focused on resources related to internet safety awareness for students and families.


COVID-19 Saliva Testing and Vaccines

As a district, we held our second round of saliva testing offered to all interested staff on February 4. We have averaged approximately 160 staff participating in the program and have had zero positive cases from this testing. This is a great proactive approach to reducing the spread of COVID-19. The saliva-testing program will continue every 2 weeks with our next testing date on February 18.


We continue to work collaboratively with Isanti County staff to offer vaccines to interested staff. Although we have been frustrated with the vaccine rollout across the state as our allotted doses have been limited, we are appreciative of the partnership we have built with Isanti County Public Health. We will continue to explore all avenues to gain access to COVID-19 vaccines for interested staff and are encouraging staff to complete the state and district interest forms. Staff are able to access the forms by accessing these links: State of MN Form and the District Form