skip to main content

View Options:

Show Everything
Hide Everything

July 20, 2020 at 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting

1. Call to Order at 7:30 pm
2. Roll Call:
Description:  School Board:    Shane Kilen, Carrie Jo Howard, Joseph Melby, Kurt Stenberg,
                           Brandon Kuznia, Laurie Stromsodt and Allison Harder

Administration:   Superintendent Larry Guggisberg, Principal Sharon Schultz
3. Listening Session
Description:   All speakers are asked to complete the Listening Session Sign-in Form including as much detail as possible and including a printed / written copy of your presentation if one is available. This is an opportunity for the Board to listen, the Board will not engage in dialogue. As a general rule, the Board will not comment on or respond to any comments made by speakers. Please do not include names of Greenbush Middle River employees or representatives, their title, or location in your remarks for your own legal protection and the legal rights of staff.

Each speaker will have five (5) minutes to speak: speakers may not roll their time to another speaker. Speakers will be timed and are asked to complete their comments in this time frame. Board members may ask questions if needed.  Please begin your presentation by stating your name and topic only.
In the spirit of fairness to all participants, we request that you respect the format above. Thank you for taking the time today to attend this meeting and share your concerns and suggestions.

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, members of the public may wish to email Board communication(s) to <>
4. Recommendation to add items to the agenda from Board members or School Administrators
5. Approval of Agenda
Roll Call Vote:
Description:  6.1    A motion was made by _____________________, seconded by ________________ to approved the agenda of the July 20, 2020 Regular Board meeting as presented / amended.
6. Minutes
Roll Call Vote
6.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the minutes of the preceding regular meeting of June 15, 2020.  Attached
Attachments: (1)
6.2. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the minutes of the preceding Special meeting of June 9, 2020.  Attached
Attachments: (1)
6.3. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the minutes of the preceding Special Work Session meeting of June 9, 2020.  Attached
Attachments: (1)
7. Business Services
Roll Call Vote
7.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the payment of bills check #37369 through #37448 for a total of $310,065.42 and Purchasing Card electronic payments dated 06/05/2020 and Electronic Funds Transfers as submitted.
Attachments: (3)
7.2. Treasurer's Report
Attachments: (1)
7.3. Greenbush Middle River School District Budget to Actual Expenditure Report (as previously requested by board member to provide on monthly basis).
Description:  As requested by board member, document will be provided on monthly basis.

Budget consists of 6 fund balances:

o  01 General Fund
o  02 Food Service
o  04 Community Services
o  07 Debt Redemption
o  08 Scholarships
o  09 Student Activities
• *see attached
Attachments: (1)
8. Significant School Events and Communication:
8.1. Greenbush Middle River School FIRST Robotics Documentary entitled "Small Town Robot" being re-aired on Twin Cities Public Broadcasting
Description:  The premiere of SMALL TOWN ROBOT occurred on August 15, 2019 at the Roso Theater.  It was then aired on public MN Public T.V. stations.   The previously aired documentary featuring the GMR First Robotics Team is coming back in the Twin Cities PBS broadcast schedule in August 2020.

Here are the AIR-dates:
Tpt2 - Monday, August 17th at 11:30 pm;
Tpt2 - Tuesday, August 18th at 5:30 am,and
tptLIFE - Saturday, August 22nd at 10:30 pm

8.2. GMR Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) success at [virtual] National Competition
Description:  Three Greenbush-Middle River FCCLA members received GOLD at the first ever Virtual FCCLA National Conference.  Morgan Reed received Gold in Say Yes to FCS (Family & Consumer Science), Bella Burkel received Gold in Interior Design, and Berylyn Burkel received Gold in Food Innovations.  These are all national events where the criteria and rubric is very specific and detailed.  

 The students presentation links are below - copy and paste into your internet browser.

Morgan Reed:

Bella Burkel:

Berlyn Burkel:

NOTE:   GMR had 8 members that advanced or were alternates for the FCCLA National Conference.  The members that did not compete this year will hold their events until the 2020-2021 competitive year, giving them time to further refine their presentations.
8.3. Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) Virtual Summer Seminar Information
Description:  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic MSBA is offering a virtual conference. 
See attached MSBA Virtual Summer Seminar Information
Attachments: (1)
9. Old Business
9.1. Back-to-School planning efforts within the Coronia Virus Pandemic (COVID-19)

Description:  While most everyone wants kids to be back in school, returning to the way we know education works best, we also know that there will not be a one-size-fits-all solution for every school district. 
On June 18th, officials from the MN Dept. of Health and the MN Dept. of Education released guidance to help Minnesota Public Schools plan for the coming school year. The MN Dept. of Education along with the MN Dept. of Health has developed three back to school scenarios for Public Schools. 
Those scenarios are:
1)  All children return to school buildings and in-person classes.
2)  No children return to school buildings for in-person classes.  Instead, all       students will engage in distance learning.
3)  Employ a hybrid of these two options with both in-person classes and distance learning.

In the last week of July, the Governor will be announcing what model of educational programming will be used for the start of school.  The future track of the coronavirus outbreak will dictate how schools will safely open this fall.
It is possible school will start the year with one scenario and then all schools, or some schools may switch to a different scenario part way through the academic year, again depending on what happens with COVID-19 cases.

The School Administration sent out a parent survey for GMR parents the week of July 13, 2020.  Attached is (will be) a summary of the survey results.

The School Administration is recommending the creation of an Ad Hoc committee representing parents, teachers, staff, and students to convene to review and seek input towards addressing concerns and understanding of back-to-school scenarios prescribed by the Governor, MN Dept. of Education and MN. Dept. of Health.

Meeting #1..........  Organization and description of three (3) educational programming models as proposed by the MN Dept of Education.  Discussion and reaction to (post MDE opening school for the fall announcement) 
Meeting #2........... Discussion, reaction and how to respond to (post MDE opening school for the fall announcement) 
Meeting #3......Discussion, reaction and how to respond to (post MDE opening school for the fall announcement) 

A Parent Planning Guide has been posted (linked) on the school's home page.

Dynamic organizations handle change well, and rely on staff, students, parents and the community to address whatever challenges come this fall because all we can do is serve all our kids in the best way we can.
9.2. Adoption of revised 2020-2021 estimated school budget.
Description:  During the regular June 2020 Board meeting, the Board adopted a 2020-2021 budget based on "rolling over" of the previous year's (2019-2020) budget with the understanding the FY 21 Budget will be amended at a later date.    

The attached 2020-2021 estimated school budget provides a snapshot of administration’s best budget assumptions in these uncertain times when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down Minnesota schools in mid-March through the end of the 201-2020 academic year, and the district still doesn’t know if the state will allow schools to open this fall for in-person instruction.

The district is reviewing ways to close the budget gap as there are several moving parts to it, including a possible infusion of Federal & State funds due to COVID-19.

As previously reported to the Board,  As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting schools the MN Dept. of Education will permit fund transfers for Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 only.  The District's Financial Auditor will provide guidance for fund transfers.  Criteria for allowable fund transfers include:  (1) The transfer does not increase state aid obligations or result in additional property tax authority; (2) the transfer is limited to operating funds of a school district; and (3) the school board must approve the fund transfer(s) prior to the reporting deadline for the respective fiscal year.  The School District's Financial Audit is scheduled for Sept. 22-25.

What we do know is State general education revenue is projected to increase 2% for the 2020-21 school year.  However, the increase in State aid will likely be off-set by declining K-12 student enrollment.

The District will be deficit spending in FY 21.  See attached cover page.  The importance of a operating referendum and budget reductions can't be over-stated in order to improve the school district's financial condition.

Student enrollment at the end of the 2019-2020 school year was:
K...  21
Total K-12 = 255

The district is estimating K-12 enrollment for 2020-2021 as:

K.... 21
1-6... 103
K-6... 124
7-12... 121
Total K-12 = 245
                                              see attached enrollment data.

Moved by _____________ and seconded by _____________ to adopt the estimated budget for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (FY21) with the understanding the estimated budget may be amended at a later date. 
Attachments: (5)
9.3. Operating Referendum during November 3, 2020 General Election
Description:  Superintendent Comments:

Discussion about an operating referendum has been "out there" formally via school board meeting presentations since this past March and informally prior to then.

The decision to request support from district voters is based on a review of the district’s financial condition inadequate state funding and unfunded mandates putting pressure on an already stretched budget:

State funding is not keeping pace with inflation or increasing educational costs.

Compared to other NW MN Schools, using two types of comparative criteria, (1) GMR’s voter-approved operating levy is at the bottom (least) of per pupil referendum amount; and (2) at the bottom (least) of all school taxing authority.  These levies are one way local communities support their schools and help pay for school operating costs. 

If the operating levy is not renewed on or before November 2021, the district will lose $139,872 per year effective with the 2022-2023 requiring even deeper cuts to programs and services.

As the board continues with its decision-making thoughts, they need to keep in mind there is a financial need to maintain programming and school operations, however, the District should continue to reduce expenditures as a response to a declining enrollment trend.

Operating Referendum discussion... and decision based on prescribed timelines.  The most immediate is a formal Board resolution must be submitted to the MDE of Education and Home county auditor on or before August 21.
  • The Board has indicated the GMR School District has "gone out" to its voters two (2) years prior to an operating referendum expiring.  If voters fail to approve the operating referendum, there is at least one (1) more try to get an operating referendum to pass before it expires.
  • Doing so in Nov. will have the school election within the General Election, so the election costs will be through the County not the school district.  An "off year" election would result in the GMR School District absorbing elections costs (eg:  election judges and just the general work effort associated with running an election).
  • Passage of a referendum not really a "moon shot" during COVID-19 - major employers (Polaris, Digi-Key, Central Boiler, Marvin Windows, area farmers (with exception of over-amount of rain) and schools as a whole not terribly adversely affected.
  • As a board, you have been very conscious of both the financial needs we have as a school district and the financial challenges that COVID-19 has placed on our community.   A solution that combines on-going budget reductions with an operating levy allows us to partner with our residents, and keep both our schools and our community strong.
  • Legislative Up-date (below) which could affect / improve school referendum tax impact.
Last week, the Governor, called the MN Legislature back to a special session. He did so in order to continue his peacetime emergency executive powers but also to allow the House and Senate to take up bills related to bonding, taxes, and police reform.

While it appears there may be agreement between the House and Senate majorities on a bonding bill and tax bill, it’s not clear if the minority caucuses in each body will support the bonding bill which is necessary in order to get the required number of votes necessary to pass a bonding bill. And, it’s also not clear if there is any agreement on police reform.

There are several provisions of interest in HF3, the Omnibus Capital Investment and Tax Bill. They include:

Referendum equalization levy: Increases the first tier of equalization from $567,000 to $650,000 and second tier from $290,000 to $320,000. Effective for school district revenue in fiscal year 2022 and thereafter.
The House and Senate are not expected to act on any bill until Monday, July 20 at the earliest.

A voter approved election is certainly not a shoe-in
  1. School elections are more difficult during a General Election
  2. School elections during COVID-19 may bring hesitancy to voters
  3. Yet-to-be determined legal action in the MR Annexation lawsuit may have some district voters being non-supportive.
  1. Referendum option (per pupil amount) for amount that will bring GMR "up" compared to other NW MN Schools.
  1. Election strategy (eg:  Ballot question)
                One question on the ballot
  1. renew
  2. revoke and replace
  3. Revoke and replace and subject to inflation
    Two question option

Schools are an important part of our community fabric, and educating our kids is our number one priority.  The requests are to maintain and increase the funding stream that operates all our schools, and will benefit students.


Attachments: (1)
10. New Business:
10.1. Approve Bread Bid for the 2020-2021 school year.
Roll call vote
Description:  Greenbush Middle River School District previously called on vendors seeking bids for Bread products for the 2020-2021 school year.

Recommended vendor for Bread products was the previous year (2019-2020) vendor.

Suggested Board Action: 
A motion was made by ______________, seconded by _________________to approve the bid from Bimbo Bakeries as the provider for bread products during the 2020 - 2021 school year. 
10.2. Approve Milk Bid for the 2020-2021 school year.
Roll Call Vote:
Description:  Greenbush Middle River School District previously called on vendors seeking bids for Milk products for the 2020-2021 school year.

Suggested Board Action: 
A motion was made by ______________, seconded by _________________to approve the bid from Prairie Farms Land O Lakes Fluid Dairy as the provider for milk products during the 2020 - 2021 school year. 
10.3. Recommend employment of licensed Elementary Teacher
Roll Call Vote
Description:  Suggested Board Action:

Motion by ____________________ and seconded by ____________________ to approve employment of Mrs. Robin Waage as a licensed Elementary Teacher.
10.4. Approval of School District Long Term Facilities Maintenance Plan (LTFM)
Roll Call Vote
Description:  The 2015 Minnesota Legislature repealed sources of facilities revenue from statute(s) and replaced them with one enhanced revenue program called Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Revenue (LTFM revenue).  2015-2016 was the last year of the "old" Health & Safety revenue.   Effective 2016-2017 (FY 17) the Health & Safety Levy & Deferred Maintenance will be replaced with a Long Term Facilities Maintenance levy/state aid.

Long-term facilities maintenance revenue may be used for the following purposes:

1) deferred capital expenditures and maintenance projects necessary to prevent further erosion of facilities

2) increasing accessibility of school facilities, and

3) health and safety projects under Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.57, including health, safety and environmental management costs associated with implementing the district’s health and safety program.

Long-term facility maintenance revenue may NOT be used:

1) for construction of new facilities, remodeling of existing facilities or the purchase of portable classrooms

2) to finance a lease purchase agreement, installment purchase agreement or other deferred payments agreement

3) for energy-efficiency projects under Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.65, for a building or property or part of a building or property used for postsecondary instruction or administration or for a purpose unrelated to elementary and secondary education

4) for violence prevention and facility security, ergonomics, or emergency communication devices.

To qualify for Long-term Facilities Maintenance Revenue, school districts, cooperatives and intermediate districts must have a 10-year plan adopted by the school board and submitted to the Commissioner of Education.  Districts must submit evidence of school board approval for the ten year plan by July 31st

A school district's priorities may change after the plan is approved.  Eligible projects may be rearranged or substituted in the plan without submitting a new plan mid-year if there is no change in revenue.

The GMR School District’s 10 year Long Term Facilities Maintenance (LTFM) plan indicated in the Exhibit for this Agenda items shows the LTFM revenue is based on a local levy of 61% while the State Aid revenue portion is 39%.

Suggested Board Action:  

Motion by _____________________, and seconded by ___________________ to approve the Greenbush Middle River School District Long Term Facilities Maintenance Plan as presented.
11. Reports:
11.1. Superintendent
11.1.a. School Board Elections
Attachments: (2)
11.1.b. Up-date on the Middle River Annexation Lawsuit
Description:  The MR Annexation (Petitioners) desired to have up to seven GMR Board members provide depositions related to the Petitioners lawsuit.
The GMR attorney filed a motion to dismiss the Petitioner's deposition request.
On July 7, the Roseau County Judge heard arguments from the Petitioner's attorney and the GMR attorney.

A ruling from the Court has not been rendered as of today's date.

When the court makes a decision, the GMR attorney and Petitioner's attorney will determine who will provide a deposition.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many court delays.

After all depositions have been made, the GMR attorney will likely file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
12. Adjournment
Motion by__________________        Second by ____________________ to ADJOURN
13. Communications
  • Regular August School Board Meeting - August 17, 2020 @ 7:30 p.m. in GMR School Cafeteria
  • July 28, 2020 filing for School Board elections in the November 3 General Election begins.
  • August 11, 2020 filing for School Board elections in the November 3 General Election ends (@ 5:00 pm)
  • On-site School District Financial Audit is Sept. 22-25

<< Back to the Public Page for Greenbush Middle River ISD 2683