School Board Notes 5.1.2023

May 1 Meeting Highlights

The minutes from the May 1, 2023 meeting will be reviewed and approved by the School District 197 School Board at the Monday, May 15, 2023 meeting. For more information about meeting agendas and minutes, please CLICK HERE.

Action Item - Approval of Agenda
The motion carried (7-0)

Action Item - Approval of Consent Agenda
The motion carried (7-0)

Listening Session Report
Board member Stamman stated that no one attended the Listening Session.

Activities Director, Prentice Smith, stated that the winter season for Two Rivers High School athletics and activities has ended with 297 student athletes and 106 activity participants. Coaches were in attendance to recognize all state-level performing students for their accomplishments.

Coach Ben Geiger recognized speech and debate students: Grace Lyles, Thomas Larsen, Aliyah Karon, Joshua Langemo, McKinely Cherrier and Isabelle Auran. Mr. Geiger recognized national individual event Tournament of Champions students Joshua Langemo, McKinely Cherrier,  Grace Lyles, and Isabelle Auran.

Mr. Smith recognized gymnast Lucy Rapp who attended the state tournament. 

Coach Mason Young recognized wrestling student Trey Sann who attended the state tournament. 

Coach Molly Engle recognized the Dance Team entrants for Jazz: Bridget Arnold, Jillian Arnold, Vanessa Castillo, Charlotte Chandler, Hannah Corbett, Chloe Ostrem, Lindsay Overell, Ava Strohoffer, Lauren Walsh, Rachel Carter, Ashley Denenholz, Kendyl Dodson, Evangeline Fuentes, Sada Gustafson, Catalina Martinez, Carly Buzzell, and Kendyl Dodson. 

Coach, Spencer Heino recognized state participants in boys’ Swim and Dive: George Altier, Finley Gustafson, Jack Dahlager, Nathan Frisch, and Charley Cook (dive).

Superintendent Olson-Skog presented the student representatives with their scholarships for their service on the School Board for the 2022-2023 school year.

Student Board Representatives

Wrestling Coach Mason Young & Trey S.

 Coach Ben Geiger  + Speech & Debate Team Members

Coach Molly Engle + Two Rivers Varsity Jazz Team

Coach Spencer Heino + Two Rivers Boys Swim & Dive Team Members

Student Representative’s Report
Student Representatives Elise Buzzell and Makda Mekonen presented their student report. Decision day was held for seniors as they announced their post high school plans. AP Chemistry students had their first AP exam. Students will celebrate Prom this weekend. Spring sports is underway despite many canceled matches due to the weather. The lacrosse teams are now called The Ducks. The track and field team has had 17 gold medalists and many more placing second and third. The boys’ golf team had their first match and placed 2nd and the girls’ team had all students shoot under 50 for 9 holes and under 100 for 18. Two Rivers hosted the Twin Cities Teen Lit Con that is a free event with best-selling authors, book sales, and workshops. The Two Rivers Digital Wellbeing Club hosted a Log Off Lunch where students were encouraged to turn off their devices during lunch and have a technology free zone. Senior Ava Warford was awarded the 2023 St. Paul Area Athena Award that honors high school female seniors for their athletic achievement. The elementary schools participated in Earth Day. Heritage held their Marine Team night with 230 students participating. Friendly Hills 5th graders took a trip to Dodge Nature Center.

Superintendent’s Report
Superintendent Olson-Skog stated that the district is entering the final month of the school year. Schools are hosting end-of-year events, and staff are already planning for the 2023-2024 school year. Two Rivers held their Senior Decision Day. This annual event is for all seniors to announce whether they are going on to a four-year or two-year college, military service, joining the workforce, or taking a gap year.  The middle schools hosted a fifth grade preview event where fourth-grade students and their families visit the middle school they are enrolled in next year to meet teachers, tour the building, hear about how middle school works, learn about the curriculum and meet other students and families. The elementary schools are hosting showcase events, where each school hosts an event that celebrates their students’ work. Superintendent Olson-Skog recognized Teacher Appreciation Day and Teacher Appreciation Week.

Action Item-Approval of Health and Dental Insurance Renewal
Brian Schultz, Director of Finance, and Tye Michaels, Director of Human Resources, presented the district’s health and dental insurance for renewal. The Labor-Management Committee (LMC) meets throughout the school year to review health and dental insurance information and is composed of union leadership from each bargaining unit, a representative from the School Board and district administration. School districts are required to get bids every two years under the Health Insurance Transparency Act (HITA) for both self-insured and fully-insured plans. After reviewing nine months of claims data for FY 22-23, the district’s projections indicate a decrease in the health insurance reserve of approximately $340,000. After reviewing nine months of claims data for FY 22-23, the district’s projections indicate an increase in the dental insurance reserve of approximately $31,000. COVID had a significant impact on the self-insured health insurance fund. Since the pandemic began, the district incurred over $3 million in claims for testing, vaccines, and positive diagnosis care. These claims are well over ordinary claims from year to year. After reviewing the bids, the administration recommended remaining self-insured and approving United Medical Resources as the district’s third-party administrator with a 4.4% decrease in third-party administrative fees for FY 23-24. Due to the decline in the self-funded health insurance plan reserve, the impact of COVID claims, inflationary cost increases, and continued negative fund balance projections, the administration recommended a net 7.9% increase in health insurance premiums for FY 23-24. The administration recommended remaining self-insured and continuing to use Delta Dental as the third-party administrator with a 3% increase in third-party administrative fees (first increase in over seven years). Administration also recommends no change in dental insurance premiums for FY 23-24 due to the significant plan reserve and continued positive fund balance projections. It was moved by Mr. Vaupel and seconded by Mr. Schwab to approve United Medical Resources as the health insurance Third Party Administrator and increase health insurance premiums by a net 7.9% for fiscal year 2023-2024. Be it also resolved that Delta Dental be approved as the dental insurance Third Party Administrator and no change to dental insurance premiums for fiscal year 2023-2024.
The motion carried (7-0).

Early Learning Advisory Committee Update
Laurie Hume, Assistant Director of Early Learning, presented an update on the Early Learning Advisory Committee. This committee meets six times per year and is composed of parents representing Early Childhood Parent Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and Community Preschool Programs. The purpose of the committee is to advise on community needs for early childhood and provide feedback on current programs. Early childhood staff also attend the meetings. Participants help decide meeting topics and agenda items. Meetings are held both in person and virtually to increase participation.  In 22-23, the committee increased family engagement experiences and had an increase in the diversity of participants. Looking ahead, the committee would like to increase family voice through survey participation and increase interpreting options for meetings.

Special Education Advisory Committee Update
Rachel Johnston, Special Education Coordinator, presented an update on the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). SEAC is a collaboration of stakeholders (parents, teachers and administrators) that meet quarterly during the school year. The committee discusses general issues and initiatives and the impact they may have on special education learners. SEAC has sponsored district-wide opportunities for parents to learn about resources and topics that are relevant for people who care for or teach students with disabilities. Topics have included Guardianship presented by The Arc Minnesota; special education data review; and a proactive parenting workshop for raising tech healthy kids. Looking ahead, the committee will continue to provide information on guardianship, autism, and the Unified Club.

LiveGreen Sustainability Program Update
Mark Fortman, Director of Operations, Geno Mazzali, Assistant Director of Operations, and Meghan Bernard, Sustainability Program, presented an update on the district’s LiveGreen Sustainability Program. Since 2003, the district has had an active energy conservation and sustainability program. This includes LiveGreen Clubs at the schools; rooftop solar and board approved resolutions related to pollinator-friendly and clean electricity. LED lighting has been installed throughout the district reducing total fixtures by 30% and using 70% less energy. There are five on-site solar arrays that have generated energy credits for a saving of approximately $200,000 per year. The district’s aquatic   center is the first in Minnesota to use solar thermal as the primary heat source for the pool that reduced natural gas use in that building by 80%. The district performs in the top 5% of school districts nationally and continues to improve.

Summer Meal Information
Mark Fortman, Director of Operations, presented information on the upcoming summer meal program. Three schools will offer breakfast and lunch. At Two Rivers High School, breakfast and lunch will be provided from June 13-July 28, Monday through Friday. At Moreland Elementary, breakfast and lunch will be provided from June 12-August 18, Monday through Friday. At Garlough Elementary, breakfast and lunch will be provided from July 5-July 27 Monday through Thursday. Schedules and locations will be listed on the district website.