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March 15, 2021 at 7:30 PM - Regular Meeting

1. Call to Order at 7:30 P.M.
2. Roll Call
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
5.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the agenda of the ______ Regular Board Meeting as presented/amended.
6. Minutes
6.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the minutes of the preceding regular meeting of February 24, 2021.
Attachments: (1)
6.2. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the minutes of the School Board Work Session Special Meeting of March 4, 2021.
Attachments: (1)
7. Business Services
7.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the payment of bills check #37982 through #38058 for a total of $122,885.04 and Purchasing Card electronic payments dated February 5, 2021 and Electronic Funds Transfers as submitted.

Roll Call Vote
Description:  see attached
Attachments: (3)
7.2. Treasurer's Report
Description:  see attached
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. Recognition of GMR Knowledge Bowl Champions Regional (State) participation
Description:  The GMR High School Knowledge Bowl team placed 1st in Regional [virtual] competition on March 10, 2021.  They now advance to State [virtual] competition on April 9, 2021.  There are many other talented GMR students who have participated during the season.  Varsity team members participating in State are:

Olivia Brazier
Mariah Christian
Ryan Hlucny
Christian Wahl

Chance Christian

Mrs. Mara Gust is the Knowledge Bowl Advisor
9. Old Business
9.1. Proposed Budget Reductions effective with the 2021-2022 school year
Description:  Presentation by Superintendent (includes additional budget reduction of one high school teacher)  
see attached

as per February 24, 2021 School Board Agenda item:

There is a specific (statutory) process, protocol and timelines for budget reductions in a public school.  Simplified (as per MN School Boards Association) as follows:
  1. Administration report on general need for staff reductions.
  2. Board directive to administration for recommended reductions.
  3. Review master agreement (eg:  seniority)
  4. Administrative recommendations to board for reductions in positions and programs.
  5. Board resolution for reductions of positions and programs
  6. The placement of teacher on unrequested leave is consistent with the board’s resolution reducing staff (eg:  financial, enrollment)
  7. Adoption of individual board resolution proposing to place a teacher on unrequested leave of absence (ULA).
  8. Preparation of notice
  9. Service of notice and copy of resolution served on teacher (personaly, certified mail)
  10. Written request of teacher for hearing or acquiescence
  11. If written request is made - set hearing date and place
  12. Board resolution of unrequested leave placement by acquiescence of teacher and no hearing requested
Board Discussion (Steps 1-3 completed)----> Board Action towards
(implementing Steps 4-12 in chronological order)   

Suggested Board Action not recommended until completion of Joint Sports Board Meeting tentatively being scheduled for the week of March 22, 2021.
Attachments: (1)
9.2. Resolution to [further] extend deadline for Leave granted by the Families FIRST Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA)
Description:  During the regular January 20, 2021 school board meeting the Board approved an extension of the COVID-19 leave granted by the Families FIRST Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) from January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021.  

The recommendation is to grant another extension through June 30, 2021.  Costs associated with the Families FIRST Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) would be expended from the District's allocation of Round I ESSER Federal Funding.

excerpt from January 20, 2021 School Board meeting. 

In part, the Families FIRST Coronavirus Recovery (FFCRA) Act provided up to 80 hours of paid sick and family leave for employees who were unable to work because of certain COVID-19-related reasons.
This provision expired on December 31, 2020.  The stimulus bill signed by President Trump the last week in December 2020 did not extend the deadline or provide any additional source of leave.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides the option of an employer to voluntarily extend the deadline for eligible employees to use any used hours/days of leaves defined in the FFCRA Act through March 31, 2021. 

The GMR- Education Association [Teacher specific) has requested a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to extend Covid Leave under the terms of the Families First Coronavirus Recovery (FFCRA) Act that expired on Dec. 31, 2020.

MSBA has provided guidance regarding a school district voluntarily extending Covid Leave.  To-date, costs associated with COVID Leave (eg:  substitutes) have been "paid" by Federal CARES/ESSER [Round 1 / Round 2] Funding

Future [Round 2] Federal Funding signed by President Trump at the end of December 2020 is estimated at this time.

The suggested Board Action indicated below is discretionary on the part of the board and is a combination of a MOU request by GMR-EA and partially suggested by MSBA.  [NOTE:  Not approving an extension would mean teachers and staff would be required to use accumulated sick leave (PTO).]
The basis for the recommendation to extend leave is based on:
(a)  staff more educated towards stopping the spread of Covid;
(b)  vaccination already administered to specific staff (eg:  Front line medical workers); and 
(c) vaccination to school staff in the making

Board member _____________ introduced the following resolution,

Resolution to Extend Deadline for Leaves Granted by the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act  
WHEREAS, the Families First Coronavirus Recovery Act (FFCRA) required covered employers to provide up to 80 hours of paid emergency sick leave and up to 12 weeks of partially paid expanded family and medical leave, and
WHEREAS, the requirement to provide said leave ended on December 31, 2020, and
WHEREAS, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 provides the option for covered employers to extend the deadline for eligible employees to use hours/days of leaves defined in the FFCRA through March 31, 2021, and
WHEREAS, the School District did not experience high rates of absences due to FFCRA leaves prior to December 31, 2020 and wishes to voluntarily extend the deadline for employees to use FFCRA leave in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,
BE IT RESOLVED, The School Board of Greenbush Middle River Public Schools shall extend the deadline for eligible employees to use FFCRA paid emergency sick leave and partially paid expanded family and medical leave, according to the guidelines outlined in the FFCRA as modified in this Resolution, through March 31, 2021 June 30, 2021..  For purposes of implementing this Resolution and in recognition of the fact the School District has been able to provide in-person instruction throughout this school year without experiencing excessive employee absences, the School District will treat all employees as if they did not use FFCRA leave prior to January 1, 2021 for purposes of calculating the total amount of paid leave an employee will be entitled to receive between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021 June 30, 2021 pursuant to this Resolution.

and board member __________________ duly seconded the above-mentioned resolution.

Roll Call Vote
10. New Business:
10.1. Greenbush Middle River 2021 - 2022 Academic Calendar
Description:  Current MN Statute does not permit school (classes) to start before
Labor Day which falls on the first Monday in September.

Legislation has been proposed in previous MN Legislative sessions to dismiss the post Labor Day requirement - the legislation has not passed.
Labor Day is Monday, Sept. 6th. Because of this late date within the
calendar cycle, to schedule 172 student days and 180 teacher days
results in limitations of school calendar options.
Options for the 2021-2022 proposed School Calendar has been presented to staff members as well as board members prior to the March regular school board  meeting.  Calendar will be presented for Board approval during March or April board meeting.

see attached three (3) options for consideration

NOTE:  As a result of MN Governor Executive Order, during the Covid-19 pandemic, in the event of a school closing emergency (eg:  snow day, water main break) school districts may cancel in-person learning and move to distance learning.  (ie:  not use a calendar "make up" day).  Without an Executive Order or without 2021 Legislative action, schools must receive approval from the MN Dept. of Education to go to distance learning [e-learning] in the event of an emergency school closing.  M.S. 120A.414

Board Action on adoption of school calendar:  Table to future School Board Meeting, or

Motion by __________________ and seconded by ___________________ to approve (Calendar Option #____) as the 2021-2022 school calendar as presented.
Attachments: (3)
11. Reports:
11.1. Superintendent
11.1.a. School Facilities:  Summer 2021 School Improvement Projects 
Description:  Annual summer maintenance:  Gym closed ~ July 12 - July 23, 2021.
          Gator logo / graphics (to be determined) paid for via a local benefactor

Long Term Facilities Maintenance (LTFM) is revenue received from the State and local levy to maintance school facilities.

Allowed Uses of Revenue (Minn. Stat. § 123B.595, subd. 10):   Long-term facilities maintenance revenue may be used for the following purposes:
• Deferred capital expenditures and maintenance projects necessary to prevent further erosion of facilities
• Increasing accessibility of school facilities
• H&S projects under Minnesota Statutes, section 123B.57, including health, safety and environmental management costs associated with implementing the district’s health and safety program

This summer, LTFM revenue will be used to improve the following:
Bus Garage
       re-roof and insulate heated shop area
       replace heat system in shop area 
       Basketball pully system replacement 
       Door Replacement
       Gym floor (logo/graphics)

Brick Repair (2nd floor window areas) on front of H.S. 
11.1.b. Report of the events and activities of the current Minnesota Legislative session and
potential effects on Public Education
Description:  The House Education Policy Committee on March 12th advanced HF 1081, which serves as the vehicle for the House omnibus educational policy bill.
The MN House of Representatives has a Democratic majority.  Gov. Walz is a Democrat, so in summary, the House omnibus educational policy bill is very similar to the Governor’s policy recommendations.

At its core, the omnibus education policy bill is an attempt to address the state’s severe educational opportunity and achievement gaps for students of color and low-income students, according Rep. Ruth Richardson (DFL-Mendota Heights).

She sponsors HF1081, which includes several provisions that aim to diversify the teacher workforce, reduce the use of exclusionary-discipline practices and increase student mental health supports.

source:  MN Session Daily  March 12, 2021

see attached
11.1.c. Federal Legislation:  American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and its impact on Public Education

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

This bill provides additional relief to address the continued impact of COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses.

Specifically, the bill provides funding for

  • agriculture and nutrition programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program);
  • schools and institutions of higher education;
  • child care and programs for older Americans and their families;
  • COVID-19 vaccinations, testing, treatment, and prevention;
  • mental health and substance-use disorder services;
  • emergency rental assistance, homeowner assistance, and other housing programs;
  • payments to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments for economic relief;
  • multiemployer pension plans;
  • small business assistance, including specific programs for restaurants and live venues;
  • programs for health care workers, transportation workers, federal employees, veterans, and other targeted populations;
  • international and humanitarian responses;
  • tribal government services; and
  • scientific research and development.

Congress approves massive infusion of funds for schools, and high-poverty districts will get the most
By Matt Barnum  Source:  excerpts from Chalkbeat  March 15, 2021
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization reporting on education across America.

Schools across the U.S. will receive a massive and historic infusion of money in the coming months thanks to a pandemic relief package that includes $128 billion for K-12 education and hundreds of billions for state governments.
Congress approved the package, known as the American Rescue Plan, on Wednesday (March 10).
The package is likely the biggest single federal outlay on K-12 education in U.S. history.
It includes nearly $110 billion that will flow to school districts through the Title I formula, which is based in large part on how many low-income students a district serves. That means some of the country’s highest-poverty districts will end up with thousands of additional dollars per student, while many affluent areas will wind up with less than $1,000 more per student.
In another boon to public schools, states and cities will get $350 billion to fill their own budget gaps. Education advocates see this as critical, since states provide a substantial share of schools’ funding.

Schools spending a massive sum of one-time cash comes with serious challenges. How they would ever spend that money effectively, knowing or at least expecting that all of it’s going away in a few years."
Districts will have until October 2024 to allocate the funds, a U.S. Department of Education spokesperson said.
If schools use the money for recurring costs — like hiring more teachers or paying existing teachers more — that could lead to a "funding cliff" requiring painful cuts when the money runs out.  Experts suggest that schools should instead consider expenses like building repairs, short-term tutoring, or extended school day programs that use existing staff.   During the last recession, schools had to make substantial cuts after federal funds dried up.

see attached graphic
Attachments: (1)
11.2. Principal
11.2.a. Winter Sports Up-date

New State Guidance brings Additional Spectator Opportunities for MSHSL Activities

The Minnesota State High School League and its member schools are excited to learn that the State of Minnesota is providing additional opportunities for our participants and their communities. Governor Walz’s announcement today allows the League to plan for more spectators to attend exciting events and tournaments beginning on April 1, 2021.

source:  MSHSL News  March 12, 2021

11.2.b. Spring Sports (Start-up)
11.2.c. Spring Activities (eg:  Prom, Graduation)

excerpt from:   MDE March 12, 2021  School Leader Communication

Today, (March 12, 2021) life is slowly returning to normal as vaccines start to have an impact. We see this in our schools as cases among educators and staff have been stable even as so many schools return to hybrid and in-person learning.

Based on where we are at now, Governor Walz has announced that we will be taking more steps to turn the dials forward. Executive Order 21-11, which will be published on Governor Walz's Executive Orders webpage later today (March 12, 2021), outlines the changes in full detail, but I’d like to highlight a few updates that will impact our school communities:

Events and ceremonies such as prom and graduation:

  • On April 1, 2021, updated venue capacities and guidance will go into effect for venues that can ensure compliance with health and safety measures.
  • Guidance specific to prom and graduation will not be issued. When planning prom and graduation, please refer to the updated Entertainment and Meeting Venue Guidance on the Stay Safe MN website.
... This progress is great news for all Minnesotans. It is important to remember that while we are seeing improvements, we must continue to be vigilant in wearing masks and practicing social distancing. We appreciate your continued work to keep our school communities safe and healthy.
11.2.d. COVID-19 [Up-date]
Description:  To date:

All school staff have had the opportunity for vacination
All school staff have the opportunity to participate in saliva testing every-other-week
12. Adjournment
Motion by__________________        Second by ____________________ to ADJOURN
13. Communications
  • Regular April School Board Meeting - April 19, 2021 @ 7:30 p.m. in GMR School Cafeteria

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