• December 9, 2014 Regular Business Meeting

    Winter Prelude: The Columbia Heights High School choir, under the direction of Alex Jacques and accompanied by Casey Rafn on piano, performed three songs.  The choir was invited to sing at the Business Meeting by Superintendent Kathy Kelly.

    For the East African worship song Hakuna Mungu Kama Wewe, students Jada Bell and Elijah Vanderpoel sang solos with Blake Keuther performing on percussion.

    The second, a traditional song entitled Shalom, Pacem, Peace, was arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram.

    The third arrangement was the Appalachian Folk Song "Shady Grove."  The song, arranged by Robert I. Hugh, included students Blake Keuther and Elijah Vanderpoel on percussion.  Click on each of the photos below to expand.

    Discussion, Reports and Information Items

    Acknowledgement of Contributions: Chair Scott Bardell announced, and the School Board approved, a resolution for accepting current contributions in the amount of $12,954.50. The total fiscal year 2014-2015 monetary contributions to date is $29,815.36.

    Report highlights from the School Board acting on behalf of Columbia Heights Public Schools

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin did not have a report.

    • Treasurer Lori Meyer attended a MSBA Delegate Assembly. 
    • Clerk Missy Lee attended a MSBA Delegate Assembly and a Columbia Heights City Council meeting.

    • Director Ted Landwehr attended a MSBA Delegate Assembly and a West Metro Education Program Executive Committee meeting.

    Superintendent's Report: 

    • Reported the District Data Team continues to meet to study data and develop strategies to close the achievement gap.

    • Shared the Licensed Labor Management Team met to discuss matters of joint concern.

    • Said Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren, Director of Technology and Security Bryan Hennekens and she meet to develop an operational plan on how Capital funds (as a result of the Nov. 4, 2014 election) will be invested.  Superintendent Kelly added that annual reports on how the funds are being invested will be provided to the community.

    • Shared that District administrative leaders and she participated in a joint meeting with the City of Columbia Heights Police Department on data privacy and data sharing.  The Superintendent said Columbia Heights Police Chief Scott Nadeau will speak to the School Board in February to provide updates, to include usage of body cameras of School Resource Officers.

    • Reported that the District Finance Committee, chaired by Director Holmgren, met and discussed the recent financial audit.  Superintendent Kelly noted Chair Larry Pietrzak, a longtime supporter of this school district, is retiring from his professional position, but has agreed to continue chairing the Finance Committee until the end of this school year.

    Discussion, Reports and Information Items

    Tenured Teacher Recognition: Director of Human Resources Lindsey Bennett and Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas introduced licensed faculty newly tenured in the District as of July 1, 2014.  Director Berkas shared his congratulations to all of the honorees (click here for his comments).

    Jake Henderson
    Kelsey Baxter
    Columbia Academy
    Chloe Bluth Columbia Academy Alison Humpal Columbia Academy Kim Anderson CHHS Angela Jacobson District Wide Sara Kessler ECSE* Kassi Schimek ECSE*
    Kelsey Lehman Highland Rhonda Lingen
    Carol Peterka Highland Alyssa Isaacs
    North Park
    Ariana Strom
    North Park
    Stephanie Karker Valley View Rochelle Look
    Valley View
    Maureen Reilly Columbia Academy

    * Early Childhood Special Education

    West Metro Education Program (WMEP): Superintendent Keith Lester of the West Metro Education Program provided this School Board an update on WMEP, which serves more than 100,000 students (including Columbia Heights Public School's learners) and staff through "regional leadership, collaboration, commitment and mutual support.  Superintendent Lester discussed current issues and the four main purposes of the program: Regional Equity Leadership, The FAIR School, Staff Development and Student Programs. Click here to view or download the WMEP handout.

    Building Vision Card (North Park Elementary School): Director Berkas introduced North Park Elementary School Principal Jeff Cacek and Dean Tanya Sturm, both of whom presented the school's annual Strategic Roadmap update.  Their update included management issues, analysis of data, evaluation of programming, development of plan to address priority needs, creation of implementation plan and evaluation system and budget adjustments to Title I. Click here for their PowerPoint.

    Police Liaison contract: Director Holmgren shared this program is based on a Joint Powers Agreement between the City of Columbia Heights and ISD #13 Columbia Heights Public Schools. The agreement language remains the same as in previous years with the total cost reflecting a minimal increase. This agreement is for services at Columbia Academy and Columbia Heights High School from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015. Director Holmgren will bring this item back as an Action Item at the Jan. 13, 2015 School Board meeting.

    Truth in Taxation Hearing: Director Holmgren presented the current budget and the 2015 Tax Levy.  He discussed budget indicators, enrollment and state legislature decisions that affect this District's funding.  Director Holmgren shared changes in the 2014 District General Fund Revenue budget and FY 2015 expenditure changes.  More specifics of the Truth in Taxation Hearing can be read in Director Holmgren's PowerPoint presentation (click here).

    Action Items  

    Pay 2015 Levy:  Director Holmgren said each December this School District certifies the next year’s school property tax levy. This levy will be collected during the 2015 calendar year and used as revenue during the 2015/2016 school year. The only change from the September report by Director Holmgren is the new Capital Projects Levy passed by voters Nov. 4, 2014, increasing the overall levy to 16.26 percent. Director Holmgren said tax payers will not see this much of an increase as the District receives fiscal disparities from other metro cities that averages approximately 33 percent. The School Board approved the Pay 2015 Levy as presented by Director Holmgren.

    New/Suspended/Deleted Courses: The School Board approved new/suspended/deleted courses for the 2015-2016 school year.  Click here for the PowerPoint, which lists the courses, presented to the School Board at the Nov. 25, 2014 Business Meeting.

    Celebration of Service: Superintendent Kathy Kelly began by thanking outgoing School Board members Scott Bardell and Missy Lee. Director Lee and Chair Bardell shared comments as did former School Board Director Keith Roberts.  All comments shared at the Celebration of Service can be listened to at the 1.55 mark of the Dec. 9, 2014 Business Meeting video (click here)

    Outgoing Chair Scott Bardell (left) with Vice-Chair John Larkin.
    Outgoing Clerk Missy Lee (left) with
    Vice-Chair John Larkin

    Key Dates:

    • Dec. 24 - Jan. 4, No School, Winter Break
    • Jan. 6, 8 p.m., School Board Organizational Meeting, Community Room
    • Jan. 13, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • Jan. 19, No School, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
    • Jan. 20, 6 p.m., School Board Work Session, Community Room
    • Jan. 23, No School, District In-Service Day
    • Jan. 26, No School, District Grading Day
    • Jan. 27, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room

    Do you have questions or comments?  Click here.