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. Vice-Chair Melanie Cole called the meeting to order at 5:15 pm. The following members were present: Kirby Anderson, Melanie Cole, Missy (Melissa) Hermes, Matthew Lemke, and Stephen Vigesaa. Natalie Knutson was absent. Jeff Drake, Superintendent, Renae Macheledt, Finance Director, and Elaine Jahnke, HR Director, were also present. 

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all present. 

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PUBLIC MEETING 

A public meeting regarding a discussion and presentation of the Commissioner’s Review and Comment on Proposed Building Bonds, presented by Superintendent Jeff Drake, began at 5:16 pm in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School.

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Missy Hermes, clerk, established a quorum. 

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

Melanie Cole offered the resolution of acknowledgements for the following and moved for its adoption:

Thank you to Jamie Lill (McKinley) and Steve Olson (Cleveland) for their success in leading the Kids Heart Challenge and raising over a combined $13,700 for the American Heart Association; also thank you to the Otter PTO for their second donation to the Lincoln School kindergarten playground.

The motion was seconded by Missy Hermes and upon roll call vote being taken, the following voted in favor thereof: Kirby Anderson, Melanie Cole, Missy Hermes, Matthew Lemke, and Stephen Vigesaa; 

and the following voted against same: 

None. 

Whereupon said motion was declared duly passed and the resolution adopted.  

Reports were presented by: 

  • Scott Colbeck - Elementary Principal (Adams/McKinley)
  • Tindy Rund - Elementary Principal (Cleveland) 
  • Mark Anderson - Secondary Principal
  • Ivan Hirst - Middle School Principal (presented by Supt. Jeff Drake)
  • Jeff Drake  Superintendent 

General Consent Items

The following consent agenda was presented for approval: 

  1. Minutes from the regular School Board meeting held on March 11, 2024
  2. Bills (March 12 - 25, 2024) 
  3. Personnel

Certified/Teaching Staff Hires:

  • Megan Kraemer, special education teacher - .6 FTE @ KSS; effective 2024-25 school year

Support Staff Hires:

  • Patricia Riemer, special education paraprofessional @ McKinley; effective 4/8/2024
  • Daryl Muchow, long-term substitute custodian @ Adams; effective 3/25/2024 - 5/31/2024
  • Rebecca Lee, long-term substitute - special education paraprofessional (float); effective 4/1/2024 through end of 2023-24 school year
  • Theresa Herzberg, long-term substitute - special education paraprofessional @ KSS; effective 4/1/2024 through end of 2023-24 school year
  • Jeffrey Ersland, districtwide delivery operator; effective 4/1/2024

Support Staff Resignations:

  • Christina Baglo, part-time custodian @ KSS; effective 3/13/2024
  • Perry Marcus, delivery operator; effective 3/13/2024

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

Old Business: 

None

New Business: 

  1. Matthew Lemke moved to approve a revised proposed budget for Lincoln School Furniture. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson. Matthew Lemke amended his motion to include a budget amount of up to $444,000; and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Kirby Anderson moved to approve the 2024-2025 Fergus Falls School District Calendar. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried four votes to one (Vigesaa).

The next regular School Board meeting will be held at 5:15 pm Monday, April 8, 2024 in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School.  

Stephen Vigesaa made a motion to adjourn the meeting at  6:31 pm. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously. 

A work session followed the regular board meeting.