"From my standpoint, we're not ready to take action. There are a lot of questions," said Kingsland School Board of Directors Chairman Doug Plaehn, referring to the proposed facility plans the board had explored at a workshop a couple weeks ago.

The proposed plans address changes in how students and staff use the school buildings at both the high school-elementary in Spring Valley and the middle school in Wykoff, in light of evolving technology. The board reviewed the proposed facility changes during its Aug. 19 regular board meeting. Plaehn elaborated, "Also, with a look at 'back of the napkin' figures, there's a big chunk of this project we could do if we wanted to."

Board member Gwen Howard said, "I agree we need to look at this a little bit. I feel like we're going really fast. There are pros and cons, and people have talked to me about it." Regarding the middle school building in Wykoff and a suggestion from TSP, the architectural firm the district has employed, citing that it might prove more financially prudent to close the building, Plaehn stated, "I still think there's a lot of positive uses for that building, and I think we should not abandon it." At least one of TSP's six architectural options includes either closing the building or realigning how its population is served and making changes to the high school and new elementary, but the board expressed its reticence to make decisions about any options at this point, given that exploration of such options began only four to six months ago.

Member Deb Larson said, "It would be interesting if we could take tours of other schools."

Howard agreed, "I know we want the best for our students."

Plaehn concurred, "I like the concept, but there are too many open-ended questions."

The new school year is quickly approaching, and in other action at the board meeting, Kingsland's principals each updated the board on changes at the respective schools.

James Hecimovich spoke first, noting that he had given tours to members of the Spring Valley High School Class of 1973. He also explained that teachers Andrew Brouwer and Brad Reiter had attended training for Project Lead the Way (PLTW) classes over the summer - Brouwer for civil engineering, and Reiter, for human body systems - and that the amount of curriculum covered in certain PLTW courses might allow the district to incorporate it into another PLTW class.

Title I is going to weather a funding cut, according to Hecimovich. "There's about an $8,000 cut in funding, so that will make things a little tighter."

He added that seniors and their parents may attend a senior night planning session on Monday, Sept. 9 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Elementary and middle school principal Chris Priebe reported that teacher training is complete for elementary instructors learning the tenets of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a program that was implemented at the middle and high school last year to reward students caught doing and behaving well.

The open house for kindergarten through 12th grade is Wednesday, Aug. 28, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Kids can meet the teacher, drop in and see their school. Also, there's an iPad informational meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

In Superintendent John McDonald's report, he announced the forthcoming visit of the state education commissioner (see related story) and also noted that the district's website is receiving an update. "The web page will have a new look - it will be more informational - even though it does a nice job now in many ways...it can do even better."

Personnel matters included accepting junior high football coach Carl Eberle's resignation. Larson, his aunt, abstained from voting.

The board also discussed denying the resignation of special education instructor Kerry Kading. Howard posited, "Since reviewing the date on her resignation and that a list of information wasn't provided, I guess my true belief is that the board should grant her resignation as requested. She was honest last spring when she was asked if she was seeking other employment. I feel she's being punished, and I wonder why her resignation letter wasn't acted on. It's my feeling that a sub could be hired until the position is filled, and that we should treat others as we want to be treated."

Board member Troy Asher inquired, "What would we do in the meantime?"

McDonald stated, "We'd post the position, look to hire a long term sub and hire someone when we find them. My concern is finding qualified candidates this late."

The board voted 5-1, with Howard opposed to the denial of Kading's resignation.

Hiring news included welcoming John Schulz to the elementary as a kindergarten teacher, Aaron Thauwald to the junior high football field, and Tim Chappell to the stage as advisor of Kingsland's new drama club.

Before adjourning, the board increased the cost of adult lunch prices by a dime and another retroactive dime to bring the cost to $3.35 while assuring adult Kingsland diners that they will receive adult-sized lunch portions, and also approved the student activities handbook.

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

During reports at the monthly board of directors meeting last week, Superintendent John McDonald was pleased to share details the visit.

"Brenda Cassellius is going to visit, and she's chosen Kingsland, but she decided to wait until the second week of school. She'll visit classrooms and address the students," said McDonald. And I had an opportunity to visit with the new president of Riverland, Dr. Atewologun. "He's very impressed with Kingsland and has asked to join us when Brenda Cassellius comes to our schools."