May 8, 2018
The School Board honored 14 Columbia Heights High School students who won Minnesota State High School League 5AA State Competition Visual Arts and Music awards. The Visual Arts awards include seven Superior Awards, eight Excellent Awards and a “Spotlight On the Arts Judge’s” award. The Music awards included three (of three participants) Superior Awards. Of those students who were able to attend this School Board meeting, pictured at right are Columbia Heights High School singers Emily Valle Sanchez and Cleopatra Kembitskey, both of whom earned Superior Awards. Read the Visual Arts news release and the Music Awards' news release.
Communication to the Board
Nine parents shared their concerns about proposed budget, program and staffing reductions, eliminations or position alignments (See Action Items "Termination of Programs and Positions Resolution" below).
Reports from Members of the Board
Chair Larkin participated in the April 24 School Board Meeting and the May 8 Sub-Committee on Policy meeting. He attended the District Career Celebration Dinner and the Mayor's Breakfast and several performances of the high school Spring play.
Vice Chair Naty Severson was not in attendance.
Treasurer Lorien Mueller participated in the April 24 School Board Meeting. She also attended the District Career Celebration Dinner, the Mayor's Breakfast and the Eat Up the Debt celebration. Director Mueller also attended the Citizens for Safer Streets meeting, a synchronized swim show and had conversations with Chair Larkin and constituents.
Clerk Hala Asamarai participated in the April 24 School Board Meeting and the May 8 Sub-Committee on Policy meeting. She attended the Mayor's Breakfast and the Citizens for Safer Streets meeting, met with Director Laura Palmer and had conversations with constituents.
Director Laura Palmer participated in the April 10 Work Session, April 24 School Board Meeting and the May 8 Sub-Committee on Policy meeting. She attended the District Career Celebration Dinner and the Mayor's Breakfast, met with Clerk Asamarai and had conversations with constituents.
Director Molly Lewis participated in the April 24 School Board Meeting. She attended the District Retirement Dinner and the Mayor's Breakfast and attended middle and high school track meets. Director Lewis also had conversations with constituents.
Superintendent Kathy Kelly did not have a report.
Reports and Information Items
Director of Teaching and Learning Zena Stenvik, Columbia Heights High School Principal Dan Wrobleski, Columbia Academy Principal Duane Berkas and North Park Elementary School Jeff Cacek presented. Director Stenvik noted that in previous years this inventory was given every other year to elementary and secondary schools; however, this year students in grades 5, 7 and 9 were targeted for the survey. Each of the presenters discussed data as it relates to their schools. View the PowerPoint presentation
Deputy Director of Special Education Dr. George Holt provided the School Board with an update, to include an expansion, of the Anchor Program for the 2018-2019 school year. This was an informational presentation. View the PowerPoint presentation
Deputy Director Holt provided an update on the revision of the Transition and Work-Based program at Columbia Heights High School for the 2018-2019 school year. This was an informational presentation. View the PowerPoint presentation
Long-Term Facility Maintenance Plan
Director of Finance and Operations Kristine Carr provided an overview and asked the School Board to accept the Long-Term Facility Maintenance Plan as an Action Item at the May 22, 2018 Regular Meeting. She shared School Board approval of the plan is required for this District to receive annual revenue.
Northeast Metro 916 Long-Term Facility Maintenance Plan
Director Carr presented the School Board with the Long-Term Facility Plan (LTFM) for NE Metro District 916 (a collaborative partner with CHPS). She shared for that District to receive LTFM funding this School Board will need to accept the plan. This request will be brought forward as an Action Item at the May 22, 2018 Regular Meeting.
Food Service Management Contract
Director Carr told the School Board that Sodexo America, LLC has been the contracted food service management company for Columbia Heights Public Schools since the 2015-2016 school year. She presented the School Board a proposed renewal of the food service management contract, extending it through June 30, 2019. This will be presented as an Action Item at the next Business Meeting. View the PowerPoint presentation.
Discontinuance or Reduction of Programs and Positions for 2017-2018 Resolution
After discussion, the School Board approved the resolution.
Termination of Probationary Teacher Contracts Resolution
After discussion, including a call to action from the Chair and the Superintendent to the community to write their state and federal elected officials on unfunded mandates, the School Board approved the resolution.
Termination of Programs and Positions Resolution
After discussion, the School Board approved the resolution.
Statement to the Media
Like many school districts statewide, Columbia Heights Public Schools has been forced to make adjustments to its budget. This is primarily because of the increasing cost of the Special Education Cross-Subsidy, which is currently at $5.7 million for Columbia Heights Public Schools. This alone equates to approximately 10 percent of this District’s annual operating budget. An additional factor affecting our District’s budget this year is declining enrollment at some of the elementary schools.
The District understands these are very difficult decisions that affect everyone involved. Building level staffing is based on the number of students enrolled and served in each school. While programs were adjusted, students will continue to have access to arts, music, band and physical education curriculum. The District has not eliminated any of these programs, but may change the delivery system of the curriculum.
Overall, the District discontinued 11.0763 full-time equivalent net licensed and non-licensed elementary positions. In addition, 5.0 full-time equivalent net licensed and non-licensed District positions were discontinued.
Columbia Heights Public Schools serves a diverse population of students in all of our buildings. The current range for Free and Reduced Priced Lunch, which is an indicator of poverty, for all Columbia Heights Public Schools, is 77.6 to 80.1 percent. As of October 1, 2017 the number of students of color served in our schools range from 77.8 to 83.2 percent. The schools across the district are balanced in these areas. Among the three elementary schools, Highland Elementary School has the highest enrollment and currently has the highest Free and Reduced Priced Lunch Count.
This budget shortfall issue is not unique to Columbia Heights Public Schools. This is underscored by Governor Dayton’s one-time Emergency School Aid proposal currently before the Legislature. We are hopeful that our community stakeholders will reach out to their state and federal elected officials to support the governor’s Emergency Aid Proposal and a long-term financial solution to the Special Education Cross-Subsidy.
Directors Mueller and Asamarai shared their comments regarding the passion of the parents who attended the meeting on behalf of their children.
Upcoming School Board Key Dates
5 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, School Board Listening Session, Family Center
5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 15, School Board Work Session, Community Room
Tuesday, May 22, Filing for School Board Seats open
7 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, Regular School Board Meeting, Family Center
May 28, No School, Memorial Day
Tuesday, June 5, Filing for School Board seats closes
Thursday, June 7, Last day for students
Thursday, June 7, Commencement, Columbia Heights High School
5 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
7 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
School Board Committee Assignments
Chair John Larkin: Columbia Heights Business Council, School Board Policy Sub- Committee, Liaison to the City of Hilltop and Columbia Academy.
Vice Chair Naty Severson: Association of Metropolitan School Districts, School Board Policy Sub-Committee and Liaison to the City of Fridley and Valley View Elementary School.
Treasurer Lorien Mueller: Educational Cooperative Service Unit and Liaison to North Park Elementary School.
Clerk Hala Asamarai: TIES, School Board Policy Sub-Committee, Liaison to City of Columbia Heights and the Family Center.
Director Laura Palmer: NE Metro Intermediate District 916 Board, School Board Policy Sub-Committee and Liaison to Columbia Heights High School.
Director Molly Lewis: Minnesota School Board Association Legislative Liaison, Minnesota State High School League and Liaison to Highland Elementary School.
For more information on the School Board Report, call or email Communications Director Casey Mahon at 763-528-4503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.