• The mission of Columbia Heights Public Schools is to create worlds of opportunity for every learner in partnership with supportive
    small-town communities by challenging all to discover their talents, to unleash their potential and to develop tools for lifelong success.

    August 13, 2013 Business Meeting

    School Board Reports:

    • Director Ted Landwehr attended a National Night Out event, the City of Columbia Heights community picnic, a girls softball tournament, a Lion's Club meeting and a chamber of commerce meeting. 

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin attended the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) Summer Seminar on safety in the schools and a policy sub-committee meeting.

    • Director Missy Lee attended a subcommittee on Board Self Evaluation, two MSBA state board meetings and a three-day event with the National School Board Association (NSBA) central committee, which encompasses approximately six states and a MSBA Summer Seminar.

    • Director Laura Palmer attended National Night Out event and participated in a Board meeting with the Northeast Metropolitan 916 Intermediate School District.  She added that a new Metro Heights Alternative Learning Center (ALC) facility is due to open with the new school year; the new location is near University and 69th Avenue.  Ms. Palmer also said there is joint program being developed with Northeast Metro 916 to have more training for Emotional and Behavior Disorders (EBD) teachers.

    • Chair Scott Bardell attended an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) board meeting. 

    • For this meeting Director Meyer did not have a report.

    Superintendent's Report:

    • Attended the MSBA Summer Seminar, which focused on school safety and climate issues.  Also attended the  Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Superintendent's Back-to-School Conference that focused on "World-Class Learners: Implementing World Best Workforce by 2017." 

    • Participated in a MSBA legislative levy renewal and authorization changes webinar, by MDE staff, with Directors Holmgren and Mahon.

    • Presented, with (now) Columbia Heights High School Principal Dan Wrobleski and Activities Director Emeritus Mark Corless on the district's request for placement in a conference in the Minnesota State High School League...expect a decision this fall.

    • Announced the appointment of Matthew Miller as K-12 Activities Director.

    • Shared that Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi, Research and Development Coordinator Dr. Rick Hamann and she will meet with the District Management Council on a Special Education self-study, which the report is expected to be released during the 2013-2014 school year.

    • Attended the AMSD Board of Directors meeting where the focus was on changes to the Early Learning legislation, beginning in FY 2013-2014.

    • Reported that she and Director Holmgren toured the Metro Heights' Adult Learning Community (ALC) facility, located on University Avenue, which will open this fall.

    • Shared that North Park Elementary School facility planning continues and this will be the subject of an upcoming School Board Work Study.

    • Announced that the district has received superb press, including the Star Tribune's two-page feature on the Blooming Heights garden.

    District Communications: Director of Communications Casey Mahon briefly discussed two priorities: the creation of the School Board Report and a new employee online newsletter.  The "School Board Report" is an unofficial summary of Business Meetings that will be sent to the media and stakeholders normally within three working days.  The employee newsletter will start mid-September and will provide information to keep staff updated on district issues. 

    Community Education Adventure Club/Mini Adventure Club Fees: Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel and Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren reported on revised 2013-2014 Adventure Club fees.  This revised schedule, the first in more than five years, standardizes the daily fee rate to account for increased costs in programming and personnel costs. Adventure Club and Mini Adventures are self-sustaining childcare programs.

    Community Assistance Officer: Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren and Director of Technology and Security Services Bryan Hennekens discussed an initiative initiated by the City of Columbia Heights Chief of Police on providing an additional part-time, shared-funded (city and district) Community Assistance Officer (CAO).  The two-hour (before- and after-school) a day CAO will help direct traffic for safety reasons at Valley View Elementary School and the Columbia Academy.

    School Board Budget: Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren discussed and provided answers regarding the School Board's 2013-2014 budget.  Mr. Holmgren shared that last year's and this year's School Board budgets are virtually the same.

    Action Items:

    • The School Board approved a revised Safe Routes to School Resolution (SRTS) in support of a Minnesota Department of Transportation SRTS Non-Infrastructure Grant for 2013-2015. This grant will provide curriculum and training, including bicycle riding and safety, into the Physical Education classes at North Park, Valley View and Highland elementary schools. This grant will also provide training and equipment for the Achieve Program for students to learn and implement hands-on learning and skill training bicycle maintenance for elementary bicycles. 

    • The School Board approved the Metro Educational Cooperative Service Unit (ECSU) membership for 2013-2014. Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas explained that ECSU provides support for staff development, cooperative purchasing and student enrichment programs, including Future Cities and Knowledge Bowl. Staff development programs for teachers and administrators this past year included Professional Learning Communities, Formative Assessment, Sheltered Instruction and the Metropolitan Principals’ Academy. In addition, ECSU provides paraprofessional staff development in the areas of Assistive Technology and Autism.

    • The School Board approved Superintendent Kelly’s request for 2013-2014 Association of Metropolitan School District membership. The AMSD is composed of 37, K-12 metropolitan school districts, three intermediate school districts and three integration districts. The association supports metropolitan school districts at the state level, including Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS), and helps shape the broader public debate on K-12 issues.  Superintendent Kelly said AMSD was especially helpful to this district in pursuing all-day kindergarten and integration legislation among others.  

    • The School Board approved continued membership in the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA). The purpose of MSBA is to support, promote and enhance the work of public school boards and public education. The work of the MSBA is divided into six major divisions: Administration/Governance, Board Development/Training, Public Relations/Communications, Governmental Relations, Management Services, and Policy Services.  

    • The School Board approved the nominations of Directors Lori Meyer, Missy Lee and on a coin flip to decide a tie-breaker Ted Landwehr for the Minnesota School Board Association Delegate Assembly. The three nominations will now go into a MSBA pool for final delegate selection. 

    Key Dates:

    • Aug. 20, 5:30 p.m., School Board Work Session, North Park Learning Studio
    • Aug. 27, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • Sept. 2., District Office closed for holiday
    • Sept. 3., First day of school
    • Sept. 10, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room

    Special Meeting: (held immediately after the regularly scheduled business meeting).

    • Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren gave a summary presentation on 2013 legislative changes relating to school district levies.  Mr. Holmgren shared that the legislature approved the following two General Education Revenue changes, both supported by AMSD and MSBA:

      • Board Approved Revenue: Intended to address rising school district costs the legislature, beginning in 2015, will allow a school district to convert up to $300 of what is called Adjusted Pupil Unit (APU or the actual number of students who attend a school district) referendum authority from voter approved to School Board approved.

      • Location Equity Revenue: The legislature also approved for school districts within the seven-county metropolitan area, additional revenue equaling $424 times the APU of a district for a specific school year.  As CHPS is within the seven-county requirement, the district will automatically receive this funding.

    • The new legislation will result (dependent on a School Board vote) in CHPS going from one Operating levy to three (Operating, Board Approved and Location Equity Revenue beginning in 2015); however, the total amount ($3,503,694) remains the same.

    • The changes are legislative driven, are intended to allow School Boards more flexibility in addressing local educational issues, are positive for financial management, are anticipated to decrease taxes and are in the best interests of CHPS students.
    • The next step is the School Board will be asked to take action by September 1 on the administration's recommendations of:

      • Approving $300 of the existing operating levy to be converted to School Board control for no more than the next five years,
      • to accept the Location Equity Revenue, and
      • to vote for the $300 conversion at the August 27 meeting. 

    This is an unofficial summary of Columbia Heights Public Schools' School Board Business Meetings. The official record of School Board meetings are the Minutes, which can be read, after approval, via the School Board Home Page. The School Board Report is published by the Communications Department normally within three work days after a Business Meeting. For additional information, please use this website or call Board Secretary Dawn Hoium at 763-528-4504 or by e-mail at hoiumd@colheights.k12.mn.us.  To unsubscribe, please click here.