Kingsland High School will now have a drama club, thanks to the efforts of spring and fall play director Tim Chappell, athletic director Tom Speltz, the Kingsland High School administration and the Kingsland School Board, which approved the measure at its July 15 meeting.

Chappell requested that a drama club be established so that high school thespians may letter in drama, something they have not been able to do due to the lack of an organized, recognized drama department. Bylaws are in the process of being established, and veterans of the Kingsland stage are ready to take on new productions as soon as the school year starts.

In other business at the regular meeting, Superintendent John McDonald gave his July report, sharing that he had attended city meetings with the mayors of both Spring Valley and Wykoff to discuss the facilities usage proposals being considered.

"We shared the options, and it was a good exchange. Everybody has their own opinions, but we had some good discussion," he told the board.

Next, Kingsland's business manager, Todd Netzke of School Management Services, reported that the district's finances seem to be in good health and that the audit in progress will be completed Aug. 5. He introduced Todd Lechtenberg, who will be assuming his duties here because Netzke has responsibilities in several school districts in the area and has chosen Lechtenberg as a recommended and competent replacement.

Additionally, the board set fees for preschool, School Age Child Care (SACC) and school facility rental; three-day preschool is $205 per quarter, two-day is $150 per quarter, and one-day, $95 per quarter, with a $25 class supply fee, SACC is $2.75 per hour per child. The board also gave licensed substitute teachers a $5 pay raise to $100 per day, because, as McDonald observed, they are licensed and some do depend on substitute work as their employment. A call for milk, bread, fuel, and gas bids was also issued, and the first reading of student handbooks was approved.

Personnel matters included accepting the resignation of high school paraprofessional Amber Schneider, hiring Lindsey Tart as eighth grade volleyball coach, Jacob Vetter as physical education and adaptive physical education teacher, Gregory Schaitel as elementary special education instructor, Reeny Smith Asprey as speech and language clinician, Morgan Zimmer as Minnesota Reading Corps tutor and Amber Uhlenhake as district wellness coordinator.

The consent agenda included policy review and adoption of eight district policies, as well as designating the Spring Valley Tribune as the official newspaper, and Security State Bank, Home Federal and MSDLAF as the official depositories. The board also gave the OK for authorizing payment of monthly bills for contracted and monthly services, the superintendent to invest district funds as per law, the district office to use electronic funds transfer for state and federal taxes, PERA, TRA, BCBS, Minnesota Child Support and more. In other annual-meeting business, the board approved memberships in the Minnesota School Board Association, the Minnesota Rural Education Association, Minnesota State High School League, the Southeast Service Cooperative, Rochester Area Math and Science Partnership, the Three Rivers Conference, and other organizations.

Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A., was designated as the district's legal firm, and district information posting places include the Kingsland district office, the front doors of the Wykoff and Spring Valley buildings and the Kingsland website.

Monthly board meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room.

Lastly, the board thanked the BP Foundation for its donation of $920 for the girls' softball program, and Elliott Grandall for improved sound equipment to be used for performances at the middle school.

The meeting was closed to the public at the end in order for the board to discuss negotiation strategy on a contract with the teachers. The state's open meeting law allows the board to meet in secret for this purpose. Districts throughout the state are negotiating new two-year contracts with local teachers' unions.

The Kingsland School Board of Directors' next regular meeting is Monday, Aug. 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the Kingsland High School conference room. A facilities workshop has been set for Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m.