Kingsland business manager Todd Lechtenberg presented the preliminary 2014-2015 budget during the June Kingsland School Board meeting held last Monday evening as thunder rolled outside the Kingsland conference room.

Lechtenberg's numbers were a bit sunnier than the weather, as he anticipated $8.1 million in revenue and $8.01 million in expenditures for the budget next school year. He pointed out that the unassigned expenditures in the general fund for the coming school year are projected to increase by about $30,000 to $5.3 million, but there is some wiggle room in most of the funds in the district's budget, though community education will lose about $35,000.

He also noted that he wanted permission to forecast capital outlay projects for 2016 and 2017 in order to begin budgeting for those years. The board passed the capital outlay budget, acknowledging his request.

In personnel matters, the board approved the resignations of Title I teacher Jennifer Campbell, special education instructor Kerry Kading, Builders Club advisor Becky Bicknese and music teacher Elliott Grandall.

Board member Gwen Howard voted against approving the resignations of Grandall and Kading, questioning, "In general, with all these resignations, has anyone brought them in to talk about why they're resigning, or are we just accepting their resignations? We should find out what's causing them to leave us, because I'm really concerned that we're losing quality teachers."

The board hired John Dols as building and grounds director, John Koch as an evening custodian, Seth Heusinkveld as Project Lead the Way instructor, Karli Beissel as preschool teacher, Jeffery Ubinger as intermediate teacher, Angela Forland as elementary teacher and Devin Pokorney as summer weight training advisor.

In another matter, Kingsland Athletic Booster Club (KABC) member Stacey Rath answered questions from the board about the club's effort to raise funds for a proposed high school electronic message sign after the board addressed the matter at the May meeting. At that time, the board had in hand approximately $12,000 in donations from the public and needed additional funding in order to complete the purchase if it chose to do so.

Rath informed the board that if its intentions were to proceed with buying a sign, KABC would continue to fundraise for that purpose, but if the board chooses not to purchase a sign this year, KABC would likely decide to spend its funds elsewhere on other projects to benefit the district.

Board Chairman Doug Plaehn replied that the board would include the matter at the next finance and facility committee meeting and bring recommendations back at an upcoming regular board meeting.

In administrative reports to the board, Superintendent John McDonald spoke about the teacher evaluation plan the board will review for approval, and also about lunch prices and facility changes. He cited that the administration has worked for a full year on developing a teacher evaluation plan and that it will soon be ready for implementation.

Students who received reduced lunch prices will now receive their lunches for free, he noted, as a result of legislation earlier this year.

As far as the community facility committee related to how and where the district's students are taught, McDonald said the committee members are working hard to get a date. They wanted to get a June date, he said, but the schedules are really scattered, so they're working on a July date because they don't want to meet without everyone there.

Kingsland High School Principal James Hecimovich's report was very brief as he thanked the entire board for being at the 2014 graduation ceremony to send off the students who were kindergartners when he joined the district in 2001.

Kingsland Elementary and Middle School Principal Chris Priebe's report was slightly longer, as he had a list of updates to share regarding standardized testing, the expansion of the preschool program, and how many sections of kindergarten the district will have. He stated that the kindergartners have taken the tests this spring and last spring, allowing the staff and administration to compare results and determine how they're faring in relation to other kindergartners in the district and state.

"Now that we've taken it two years in a row, we can look back where our kindergartners were last spring, compared to this spring," he said. "As a whole, our students are averaging above the norm."

He added that schedules for both buildings are almost done at the elementary and middle school, but they need to fill Title I, special education and a half-time preschool position. They are also looking at three sections of third grade, two sections of second grade and three sections of kindergarten. He said they are really excited to have the 3- and 4-year-old preschool classes full. Those classes have been expanded to a five-day option, and the families will be informed what classes they've registered for.

Last, he thanked "all the parents, staff, community members and board members for the Wednesday early outs for professional learning community team time...I see it as being a huge asset to the district."

The board approved the filing period for affidavits of candidacy for seats on the board. Affidavits of candidacy for school board may be filed between July 29 and Aug. 12 at the Kingsland district office - terms are four years long. The terms of Deb Larson, Doug Plaehn and Steve Tart are up for election in the fall.

Next, the board expressed its appreciation to Alco for a donation of $332 toward the electronic message sign, School Management Services for its $200 toward the staff appreciation luncheon and BP/Katie Isenberg for a $300 donation.

The next meeting of the Kingsland School Board of Directors is slated for Monday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room. The public is welcome to attend. For more information, call (507) 346-7276 or log onto the Kingsland website at www.kingsland.k12.mn.us.