Natalie Knutson, Chair

Committees: Finance Committee; Buildings & Grounds; Policy Committee; Wellness Committee

Negotiations: Special Education Paraprofessionals; District-wide Individual Contracts

Term ends: 2024

Email: nknutson@fergusotters.org

Melanie Cole, Vice Chair

Committees: Spec Ed. Coop & Region I Board; Meet & Confer

Negotiations: Certified staff; Special Education Paraprofessionals

Term ends: 2026

Email: mcole@fergusotters.org

Phone: 218-205-4854

Kirby Anderson, Treasurer

Committees: Finance Committee; 544 Education Foundation; Activities Committee

Negotiations: Principals

Term ends: 2026

Email: kirbyanderson@fergusotters.org

Phone: 218-770-7161

Melissa Hermes, Clerk

Committees: Curriculum Review; Policy Committee

Negotiations: Certified staff; Food Service

Term ends: 2026

Email: mhermes@fergusotters.org

Matthew Lemke

Committees: MN State HS League & Co-Curricular; Activities Committee; Finance Committee; Buildings & Grounds

Negotiations: Certified staff; Principals; Secretaries & Custodians

Term ends: 2024

Email: mlemke@fergusotters.org

Phone: 218-731-1385

Stephen Vigesaa

Committees: Activities Committee; Policy Committee; Buildings & Grounds; Staff Development

Negotiations: Principals; Secretaries & Custodians; Title 1 Paras & Para Educators

Term ends: 2024

Email: svigesaa@fergusotters.org

Phone: 507-993-5941

The regular meeting of the School Board of Independent School District No. 544 was held in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School. Chair Natalie Knutson called the meeting to order at 5:15 pm. The following members were present: Kirby Anderson, Melanie Cole, Missy (Melissa) Hermes, Natalie Knutson, Matthew Lemke, and Stephen Vigesaa. Jeff Drake, Superintendent, Renae Macheledt, Finance Director, and Elaine Jahnke, HR Director, were also present. 

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all present. 

Missy Hermes, clerk, established a quorum. 

Melanie Cole made a motion to approve the agenda as presented. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously.

No acknowledgements were presented. 

Reports were presented by: 

  • Kirby Anderson – 544 Education Foundation, Finance, Activities
  • Melanie Cole – Spec Ed Coop, Region I
  • Missy Hermes - Staff Development, Policy
  • Natalie Knutson - Wellness, Buildings & Grounds
  • Matthew Lemke – MSHSL
  • Stephen Vigesaa – Curriculum Review
  • Jeff Drake  – Superintendent

General Consent Items

The following consent agenda was presented for approval: 

  1. Minutes from the August 28, 2023 regular School Board meeting 
  2. Bills and Treasurer’s Report - reviewed by Natalie Knutson and Kirby Anderson:

 

General Fund

$1,404,677.89

Food Service

$24,033.86

Community Service

$5,086.68

Building Fund

$0.00

Debt Service

$0.00

Trust & Agency

$500.00

Activities

$480.56

TOTAL

$1,434,778.99

 

Personnel

Certified Staff Hires:

  • Kyle Owings, social studies teacher - contract increase to 1 FTE; effective 8/28/2023
  • Barbara Huffman, ESL teacher - contract change to .6829 FTE; effective 8/28/2023

Support Staff Hires:

  • Cassandra Swenson, special education paraprofessional; effective 9/5/2023
  • Justine Walvatne, special education paraprofessional; effective 9/25/2023

Support Staff Contract Change:

  • Carrie Wynn, special education paraprofessional -  contract changed to 4 day/week (.8314 FTE); effective 8/30/2023

Support Staff Resignations:

  • Lori Jensen, Secondary School Nurse (LPN); effective 10/13/2023
  • Sarah Marcus, special education paraprofessional; effective 9/4/2023

Matthew Lemke moved to approve the consent agenda. The motion was seconded by Melanie Cole and carried unanimously. 

Old Business: 

None

New Business: 

  1. Stephen Vigesaa moved to approve the 2023-2024 iQ Academy (Fergus Falls) Student/Parent Handbook. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously.
  2. Missy Hermes moved to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between Fergus Falls School District and Fergus Falls Police Department assigning Kile Bergren as School Resource Officer (SRO) for the 2023-24 school year. The motion was seconded by Melanie Cole and carried unanimously.
  3. Missy Hermes moved to approve the Staff Development Proposal for the Use and Implementation of Staff Development Funds for the 2023-24 school year. The motion was seconded by Stephen Vigesaa and carried unanimously.
  4. Matthew Lemke moved to approve the mClass Educator Digital Platform for K-6 Reading Curriculum; effective 2023-24/2024-25 school years. The motion was seconded by Stephen Vigesaa and carried unanimously.
  5. Melanie Cole moved to approve the agreement between Lake Country Mechanical, Inc. (contractor), R.A. Morton & Associates, LLC (construction manager) and Zerr Berg Architects (architect) and the Fergus Falls Public Schools for the Phase II Lincoln Project - 23A Plumbing & HVAC (L&M). The motion was seconded by Missy Hermes and carried unanimously.
  6. Missy Hermes moved to approve the agreement between MinKo Construction Inc. (contractor), R.A. Morton & Associates, LLC (construction manager) and Zerr Berg Architects (architect) and the Fergus Falls Public Schools for the Phase II Lincoln Project - 10A Signage (L&M). The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously.
  7. Melanie Cole moved to approve the agreement between Summit Fire Protection (contractor), R.A. Morton & Associates, LLC (construction manager) and Zerr Berg Architects (architect) and the Fergus Falls Public Schools for the Phase II Lincoln Project - 21A Fire Protection System (L&M). The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously.

The next regular School Board meeting will be held at 5:15 pm Monday, September 25, 2023 in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School. 

Stephen Vigesaa made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:53 pm. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously.  

A work session followed the regular board meeting. 

_________________________________________

Melissa Hermes, Clerk