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July 19, 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 July 19, 2021 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 June 21, 2021.
Description:  see attachment
Attachments: (1)
7. Business Services
7.1. A motion was made by  ____________________, seconded by ____________________ to approve the payment of bills check #38369 through #38424 for a total of $114,895.44 and Purchasing Card electronic payments dated June 7, 2021 and Electronic Funds Transfers as submitted.
Attachments: (3)
7.2. Treasurer's Report
Description:  Attached
7.3. Greenbush Middle River School District Budget to Actual Expenditure Report (as previously requested by board member to provide on monthly basis).
Description:  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:
9. Old Business
9.1.  School Election - Fall Operating Referendum
Description:  Background information for Board discussion

Discussion about an operating referendum has been "out there" formally via school board meeting presentations since March 2020 and in-fact prior to then.
A school operating referendum was offered to GMR School District residents within the November 2020 General Election.   School District voters did not approve the operating referendum (see attached results).  As a result, the GMR School Board approved approximately $440,000 in budget reductions effective with the 2021-2022 school year.

The District's current operating referendum expires at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.   The operating referendum is $506.05 per pupil unit (ppu)   [NOTE:  Original referendum amount was $806.05 - the $300 reduction was absorbed by the State of MN].  The operating referendum provides ~$146,552.08 in additional revenue for the School District [~$65,345.48 in State Aid and ~$81,206.60 in local tax levy = $146,552.08].

The administrative recommendation is to follow School District election guidelines (see attached) to seek a Special Election on November 2, 2021 to, at minimum, renew the existing school district operating referendum.   

If the referendum is not renewed by district voters in a November 2021 school election the additional referendum revenue will not be available in the 2021-2022 school year [loss in revenue].  Additional budget reductions would be likely.

It should be noted:  Minnesota lawmakers approved in Special Session an increase of almost $463 million to K-12 public education over a two-year period. Much of that new spending will go toward a larger general education funding formula, (see attached) which makes up nearly three-fourths of the revenue for school districts.
The percent increase in general education formula funding, generally 1%, was increased by 2.45% in 2022 and 2% in 2023.  

We are grateful for the increase in education funding [per pupil] general education formula from the legislature, however, GMR graduated 29 students in May 2021, but 12 students are expected in Kindergarten this Fall. 
So, whatever increase in state aid approved by the Legislature will be negated by an enrollment decline.
Last November (2020) the board decided to move forward with a ballot question that asked voters to revoke the district’s existing authority ($506.05 per pupil) and replace it with an increased authority of $1,306.05 per pupil.  The strategy was limiting the ballot to one questions knowing the district would be able to come back the following year (November 2021) and have a second chance if the referendum was unsuccessful.
With the referendum being unsuccessful last fall, this November is the districts final chance to renew the district’s expiring authority of $506.05 per pupil.  For this reason the district may want to plan a different strategy with a two question ballot. The first question will ask voters to renew the $506.05 per pupil that is set to expire.  By asking this question separately the district will be able to use this language with the ballot question. "BY VOTING "YES" ON THIS BALLOT QUESTION, YOU ARE VOTING TO EXTEND AN EXISTING PROPERTY TAX REFERENDUM THAT IS SCHEDULED TO EXPIRE."
If the board decides they want to ask voters to increase the district referendum authority this would be asked in the second question.  As a starting point Ehler's & Associates (District's Financial Advisor) has provided a tax impact chart that illustrates how increasing the district's authority by $800 per pupil (same increase as November 2020) could look for voters. Question 1 is estimated to result in a slight decrease due to some projected growth in the tax base as well as an estimated decrease in student enrollment. Question 2 would result in a tax increase that is very similar to the ask that was presented to voters last November (2020).

It should be noted:  Agricultural property will pay taxes for the proposed referendum based only on the value of the house, garage and one acre.  Seasonal recreational residential property (i.e. cabins) will pay no taxes on the proposed referendum.

Board discussion
Attachments: (1)
10. New Business:
10.1. Food For Kids Backpack Program through North Country Food Bank
Description:  The mission of the BackPack Program is to help alleviate child hunger in America by providing hungry children with nutritious and easy-to-prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.  The program provides backpacks filled with food that is child- friendly, nonperishable, and easily-consumed. Backpacks are discreetly distributed to children on the last day before the weekend or holiday vacation.

North Country Food Bank would like to explore expanding to area schools including Greenbush-Middle River. Schools are typically the preferred distribution site for BackPack Programs. In general, schools offer the greatest probability of regular and consistent access to targeted program participants. School personnel also often have the first-hand knowledge needed to identify children in need, and employ individuals that are ideal to coordinate the program at the respective site.

Mrs. Deb Stanelle has agreed to be the local contact person for the GMR School.

see attached REFERRAL FORM

Attachments: (1)
10.2. Approve Milk Bid for the 2021-2022 school year.
Description:  Greenbush Middle River School District previously solicited vendors seeking bids for Milk products for the 2021-2022 school year.  A single bid was received from the same vendor as the previous year(s). 

Suggested Board Action: 

A motion was made by ______________, seconded by _________________to approve the bid from Prairie Farms as the provider for milk products during the 2021 - 2022 school year. 
10.3. Approve Bread Bid for the 2021-2022 school year.
Description:  Greenbush Middle River School District previously solicited vendors seeking bids for Bread products for the 2021-2022 school year.  Bimbo Bakeries was the approved vendor in previous years.

Suggested Board Action: 
A motion was made by ______________, seconded by _________________to approve the bid from Bimbo Bakeries via the NW Service Cooperative and their cooperative bid / purchasing program as the provider for bread products during the 2021 - 2022 school year. 
10.4. Approve adult meal prices for the 2021-2022 school year.
Description:  Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, school meals for students were made available free of charge effective March 2020.  Free school meals for students continued throughout the entire 2020-2021 school year.   School meals for students will continue to be free in the 2021-2022 school year.
Free school meals do not apply to breakfast and lunch served to teachers, administrators, custodians and other adults 

The MN Dept. of Education - Child Nutrition program under the direction the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture over-see school meal programs including the price of school meals. 

There is no reimbursement for non-student (adult) meals, therefore MDE encourages schools to increase the cost of adult meals for the actual cost of the meals (including labor, food, milk, supplies and other costs) when setting adult meal prices.  The practice in GMR is to hold the cost increase to a minimum with a maximum increase of 10 cents.
MDE indicated the minimum adult meal prices for School year 2020-21 were $1.90 for Breakfast and $3.85 for lunch.  For GMR, adult breakfast cost $2.00 and adult lunch cost $3.85. 
Administrative recommendation is to have the cost of adult breakfast in the school year 2021-2022 remain at the 2020-2021 cost level and in 2021-2022 increase the adult lunch price by 10 cents.

Motion by board member ___________________ and seconded by _____________ to set the cost of adult breakfast in school year 2021-2022 remain at the 2020-2021 cost level ($2.00) and in 2021-2022 increase the adult lunch price by 10 cents ($3.95).
10.5. Board approval for a Tennis co-op with the Roseau School District effective the Fall 2021 season.
Description:  The GMR School Board has approved and been denied athletic cooperatives between two or more neighboring school districts in the past.  In the most recent past, the GMR School Board, Roseau and Warroad School Boards approved a cooperative Girls Swimming agreement.  In 2006, the Roseau School Board denied a request for an athletic cooperative for Boys Cross Country with GMR.
The Roseau and Greenbush Middle River Athletic Directors have developed a plan to have a cooperative agreement for Girls Tennis effective with the Fall 2021 season.
The GMR and RHS Athletic Directors recommend approving a cooperative high school Tennis agreement with the Greenbush Middle River School District.  The Roseau School District would be the sponsoring school district.
Suggested resolution:

Member _________________ introduced the following resolution and moved its adoption:
WHEREAS, a proposed Agreement has been negotiated regarding the cooperative sponsorship of a joint high school Girls Tennis program between Roseau and the Greenbush Middle River School Districts.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of Independent School District No. 2683, as follows:
1.    The Cooperative Sponsorship Agreement be and hereby is approved;
2.    That the Chairman and Clerk are hereby authorized to execute the Cooperative Sponsorship Agreement and to make the required application to the Board of Directors of the Minnesota State High School League.
The motion for the adoption of the foregoing resolution was duly seconded by
            Member ________________ and upon vote being taken thereon, the following voted in
favor thereof: 
            and the following voted against the same:    
            whereupon said resolution was declared duly passed / failed.

10.6. GMR Staffing for 2021-2022
Description:  -  Reassignment of Special Education Teacher staffing
-  Reduction of one (1) Bus Driver
-  Reduction of one (1) Office Support staff
-  Replacement of Para Professionals (2)
-  Review of after school (Activity) Bus Driver compensation
-  GMR-EA Negotiations (initial meeting held on July 7)

10.6.a. Special Education Teacher re-assignment effective with the 2021-2022 school year
Description:  The School Administration is recommending re-assignment of Special Education Teachers effective with the 2021-2022 school year.

A licensed Special Education Teacher resigned at the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

The District's enrollment has declined over a period of 10+ years. (see attached).
The number of students receiving special education services requiring services in the Fall of 2021 will decline for the following reasons:  (a)  students with special needs moved out of the district prior to Fall 2021; and (b) students with special needs graduated in May 2021,

The School Administration along with a case review conducted by the NW Regional Inter-District Council (NW RIC) believes the special education caseload can be served with the two (2) remaining licensed Special Education teachers.  

Motion by Board member _________________ and seconded by _______________________ to re-assign Mr. Dave Stanelle and Mrs. Trish Waage the GMR Special Education student caseload effective with the 2021-2022 school year.
Attachments: (1)
10.6.b. Accept resignation of para professional
Description:  Motion by board member _______________________ and seconded by _______________________ to accept the resignation of Ms. Karla Davy as per submitted letter.
10.6.c. Resolution eliminating at-will positions in accordance with Budget reduction measures approved by the GMR School Board on March 29, 2021.
Description:  Board Member ________________ introduced the following Resolution and moved its adoption:


WHEREAS, the School Board and Superintendent have worked extensively to implement extensive budget reductions to address declining enrollment and the loss of funding associated with the same;

WHEREAS, the School Board has identified the need to eliminate positions or reduce staffing expenditures by approximately $450,000 as part of the District’s ongoing efforts to implement budget reductions;

WHEREAS, the School Board has identified the need to eliminate one bus driver position and a District office secretary position as part of its staffing reductions.

  1. The School Board hereby eliminates the following positions effective July 20, 2021:

10-month Office Secretary position (currently held by Leah Hasson)
9-month Bus Driver position (currently held by Brian Burkel)
  1. Superintendent Larry Guggisberg is hereby authorized and directed to provide written notice to Ms. Hasson and Mr. Burkel of the elimination of their positions and the termination of their at-will employment. 
  1. Both Ms. Hasson and Mr. Burkel will remain eligible to apply for open positions for which they are qualified.

The motion for the adoption of this Resolution was duly seconded by ___________________, and upon a vote being taken, this Resolution was declared duly passed and adopted / failed.
10.7. Board approval of Long Term Facility Maintenance (LTFM) Plan
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 ~70% while the State Aid revenue portion is ~30%.

Board member Joe Melby introduced the following resolution:

School Board Resolution Adopting the School District's Long-Term Facilities Maintenance Plan
Greenbush Middle River Public School District   ISD#2683
Regular Board Meeting on July 19, 2021 

     Whereas to qualify for Long-Term Facilities Maintenance revenue, MN Statutes, section 123B.595, subd. 4 states a school district must annually adopt and approve a ten-year facilities plan by July 31 for commissioner approval.

     Whereas the school district has developed a ten-year Long-Term Facilities Maintenance plan consistent with this law.

     Therefore, be it resolved that, the School Board of ISD#2683 approves the FY 23 10 year Long Term Facilities Maintenance (LTFM) Expenditure Plan Application and the 10-year LTFM Revenue Projection Spreadsheet as presented.

The resolution of duly seconded by board member Kurt Stenberg and upon vote being thereon, the following voted in favor of the motion:
Shane Kilen, Brandon Kuznia, Carrie Jo Howard, Allison Harder, Kurt Stenberg, Joe Melby and Brandon Ignaszewski.

and the following voted against:  None

Whereupon the resolution was declared duly passed and adopted the 19th day of July 2021.

Attachments: (3)
11. Reports:
11.1. Superintendent
11.1.a. School Vehicle Dept. of Transportation inspection
Description:  GMR School vehicles were inspected by the MN Dept. of Transportation (DOT) on July 13, 2021.   All buses and vans passed DOT inspection criteria.
11.1.b. Coronavirus and the status of School Start-up (Fall 2021) 
Description:  The on-set of the coronavirus began world-wide in December 2019.  During the 2019-2020 school year from March 2020 to May 2020 MN Schools converted their instructional model from in-person learning to distance learning.

Prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year, MN schools were required to develop a "Back to School Plan" which described three (3) types of instructional models (1)  in-person; (2)  Distance Learning; and (3) Hybrid schools would use depending on coronavirus transmission in their local area.  Schools were able to pivot from one learning model to another depending on the prevalence of the coronavirus. 

The GMR School provided in-person learning throughout the entire school year for students in grades K-8.  The GMR School did a short (two week) distance learning instructional delivery system for students in grades 9-12 in October 2020 due to the unavailability of adults to teach/supervise students.

From the President of the U.S. to nearly every elected official and education leader calling for a full restoration of in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, what COVID-19 protocols will schools have to undergo for the start of the 2021-2022 school year?  [Masking, Social Distancing, Vaccination, etc.].  The Center of Disease Control (CDC) provided up-dated Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Schools on July 9, 2021.
Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools

Answers to that question are to-be-determined with guidance and /or recommendations provided by agencies such as the Center of Disease Control, MN Dept. of Health, MN Dept. of Education and Roseau County Health.

Because of Covid-19 and its Delta variant, disease experts and health officials continue to encourage people 12 yrs. old and older to get vaccinated.  
Attachments: (1)
11.1.c. Legislative Summary of 2021 MN (Special) Legislative Session
Description:  We are grateful for the increase in education funding (per pupil) general education formula) from the legislature, however, GMR graduated 29 students in May 2021, but 12 students are expected in Kindergarten this Fall. 
So, whatever increase in state aid approved by the Legislature will be negated by an enrollment decline.


Summary provided by the MN School Boards Association (MSBA)
see attached
During the 2020-2021 school (COVID) year, as a part of Governor Walz's Executive Orders, schools who had to call an emergency closing (eg:  winter weather related) were able to convert the emergency closing school day to a Distance Learning Day.  As a result, the school could then count the Distance Learning day as an instructional day therefore avoiding the use of make-up days later in the school calendar year.  The Governor's Executive COVID-19 Orders have expired so therefor this flexible instructional option is not available in 2021-2022.  Unless there is further legislation action, districts that want to offer online options (through distance learning or hybrid learning) for students beyond the 2020-2021 school year will need to apply (to MDE) to become a state approved supplemental or comprehensive online learning provider.  

Online and Blended Learning Options for 2021-22
Source:  MDE   July 19, 2021
During the COVID-19 peacetime emergency, Minnesota public schools were required to offer a distance learning option for families. The peacetime emergency has ended, but many school districts and charter schools would like to continue offering these options for their students and families. MDE has created a provisional, expedited approval process for online and blended learning so that districts and schools can continue to meet the needs of all students and families. Online and blended learning may be offered for students and families but student participation cannot be required. In the 2021-22 school year, schools that are not already approved online learning providers may choose to offer to their resident and previously-enrolled students:
  1. Blended learning where students learn primarily in the building but receive instruction online for up to 20% of their weekly schedule. There is no requirement to notify MDE if providing this option.
  2. Blended learning where students learn primarily in the building but receive instruction online for 21% to 50% of their weekly schedule. Districts and charter schools must notify and submit program information to MDE for this option.
  3. Blended learning where students receive instruction online for more than 50% of their weekly schedule. Districts and charter schools must apply for provisional approval as an online learning provider.
  4. Online learning where students learn fully online away from a school building for one or more courses. Districts and charter schools must apply for provisional approval as an online learning provider.
In order to offer these options, districts and schools must agree to assurances that include statutory requirements and best practices such as communication with families, teacher schedules and workloads, and other key elements to ensure quality and equity-focused programs.
School districts may only offer the above options to families and students, they cannot require families and students to opt-in to a blended or online learning option.

What's next in 2022

Legislature Reconvenes January 2022 with General Election in November 2022
The legislature reconvenes their regular biennial session on January 31, 2022 with an anticipated adjournment date of May 16, 2022.

Unlike the odd-numbered session, where a new budget needs to be enacted, there won’t be any such pressure in 2022, certainly nothing that would force another summer-time special session.

Before they reconvene, Legislators will be looking at a new state legislative district map this fall. All 201 state House and Senate seats are on the election ballot in November 2022, along with the Governor, Constitutional Officers and the Congressional Delegation.  After the 2022 election, state Senators will enjoy back-to-back 4-year terms before the 2030 census begins.

Source:  MREA:   July 12, 2021

Attachments: (1)
11.2. Principal's Report
Description:  None
12. Adjournment
Motion by__________________        Second by ____________________ to ADJOURN
13. Communications
  • July -  August 2021 - Negotiations with GMR-Education Association whose employment Agreement expired June 30, 2021.   
  • Regular April School Board Meeting - August 16, 2021 @ 7:30 p.m. in GMR School Cafeteria
  • Week of September 20 - 2020-2021 School District Financial Audit

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