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 7:15 am. The following members were present: Kirby Anderson, Missy (Melissa) Hermes, Natalie Knutson, and Matthew Lemke. Melanie Cole and Stephen Vigesaa were 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. 

Missy Hermes, clerk, established a quorum. 

Kirby Anderson 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: 

  • Scott Colbeck - Elementary Principal (Adams/McKinley)
  • Tindy Rund - Elementary Principal (Cleveland)
  • Ivan Hirst – Middle School Principal
  • Jeff Drake - High School (for Principal Mark Anderson); Superintendent

General Consent Items

The following consent agenda was presented for approval: 

  1. Minutes from the regular School Board meeting held on May 13, 2024 and the special School Board meeting held on May 20, 2024
  2. Bills (May 14 - 28, 2024) 
  3. Personnel

2024-25 Certified Staff Hire:

  • Chloe Nelson, language arts teacher; effective 8/26/2024

2024-25 Certified Staff Resignation:

  • Nathan Dragseth, PE/Health teacher @ KSS; effective end of 2023-24 school year

Support Staff Resignation:

  • Amy Toy, Hall Supervisor @ KSS; effective 5/23/2024

Support Staff Hires:

  • Amy Toy, counseling office assistant/district facilities coordinator @ KSS; effective 2024-25 school year
  • Roberta (Robbie) Schake, HR/Payroll Specialist @ District Office; effective 6/10/2024

Individual Contracts between ISD 544 and the following:

Effective July 1, 2024-June 30, 2026:

  • HR/Payroll Specialists: (Harrington/Schake)
  • Secondary School Nurse (Sem)
  • Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant/COTA (Albertson)
  • Curriculum Director (Lemar)

Effective July 1, 2024-June 30, 2025:

  • Educational Interpreter (Starzl)
  • Truancy Interventionist/Office Assistant (L. Johnson)

Effective July 1, 2025-June 30, 2026:

  • Director of Special Education (Reard)
  1. Letter of Intent to Negotiate for the 2024-2026 School Years:
  • Minnesota School Employees Association Custodial / Secretarial Personnel
  • Title 1 Paraprofessionals

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

 Old Business: 

None  

New Business: 

  1. Missy Hermes moved to approve the Extended School Year (ESY) services and summer school for students with disabilities. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously. 
  2. Kirby Anderson moved to approve the Right Start summer programs for kindergarten students (June 4 & 5, 2024). The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously. 
  3. Missy Hermes moved to approve the 2024-25 Local Literacy Plan. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously. 
  4. Kirby Anderson moved to approve the agreement with Lakes Country Service Cooperative for ECFE/School Readiness Staffing; effective 7/1/2024 - 6/30/2025. The motion was seconded by Missy Hermes and carried unanimously.
  5. Matthew Lemke moved to approve the School Athletic Training and Sports Medicine Services Agreement between Fergus Falls Public Schools/ISD 544 and Lake Region Healthcare Corporation; effective 8/1/2024-6/30/2025. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously.
  6. Matthew Lemke offered the following resolution and moved for its adoption: 

Resolution Placing a Continuing Contract/Tenured Teacher on Unrequested Leave of Absence Upon Acquiescence of Such Placement

WHEREAS, the School Board of Independent District No.0544 adopted a resolution proposing placement of (TEACHER NAME) on unrequested leave of absence on April 22, 2024, on the grounds of financial limitations.

WHEREAS, said written notice of the proposed placement on unrequested leave of absence was mailed to (TEACHER NAME) by certified mail on April 23, 2024; and

WHEREAS, said written notice of the proposed placement on unrequested leave of absence contained a statement setting forth the reasons for the proposed placement as well as a statement that (he/she) was entitled to a hearing before the School Board provided (he/she) make a request in writing within fourteen days of receipt of said notice, and that if no hearing was requested within said fourteen day period it constituted acquiescence by (TEACHER NAME) to the School Board's proposed action, and

WHEREAS, no written request for a hearing was received by the School Board or Superintendent from (TEACHER NAME) as of May 13, 2024; and

WHEREAS, said failure to make written request for a hearing within fourteen days after receipt of notice of proposed placement on unrequested leave of absence constitutes acquiescence by (TEACHER NAME) to said placement on unrequested leave of absence;

BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, by the School Board of Independent District No.0544 that (TEACHER NAME) be and hereby is placed on unrequested leave of absence as a teacher of Independent District No.0544 on the grounds of financial limitations at the end of the 2023-24 school year effective June 30, 2024, in accordance with the District Master Agreement and pursuant to Minn. Stat. 122A.40, subd. 10.2 without pay or fringe benefits.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a notice of placement on unrequested leave, together with a copy of this resolution be forwarded to said teacher personally and that an affidavit of same be placed in (his/her) personnel file, together with a copy of the notice and resolution.

NOTICE OF PLACEMENT OF UNREQUESTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE UPON ACQUIESCENCE OF PLACEMENT

Dear Ms./Mr.,

You are hereby notified that at a meeting of the School Board of Independent District No. 0544 held on May 28, 2024, a resolution was adopted by majority roll call vote of the full membership of the School Board, placing you on unrequested leave of absence (- - FTE) as a teacher of Independent District No. 0544 on the grounds of financial limitations at the end of the 2023-24 school year effective June 30, 2024 according to the District Master Agreement and pursuant to Minn. Stat. 122A.40, subd. 10.2 without pay or fringe benefits.  

For the reinstatement process please refer to the District Master Agreement (Article 14 - Unrequested Leave of Absence).

A copy of the resolution duly adopted by the School Board is attached hereto for your information.

Please keep the HR Director advised in writing of your address at all times until your reinstatement rights have expired, so that the District may notify you of any available positions for which you may qualify.

 

Sincerely,

Melissa Hermes, clerk

School Board of Independent District No. 544

  1. Regina Busch (.0833 FTE) 
  2. Kailey Glebe  (.1667 FTE)
  3. Vanessa Jacobson (.0456 FTE)
  4. Laurie McNallie (.3333 FTE)
  5. Mariah Minkkinen (.2499 FTE)
  6. Heather Schreder (.1667 FTE)
  7. Ann Skoe (.2918 FTE)
  8. Jennifer Smith (.3206 FTE)
  9. Deb Sutor (.1667 FTE)
  10. Lisa Theisen (.3333 FTE)

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

and the following voted against same: 

None. 

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

  1. Kirby Anderson moved to close the meeting at 8:14 am per MN Statute 13D.03, Subd.1 to discuss labor negotiation strategies related to district negotiations. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously. 
  2. Kirby Anderson moved to re-open the meeting at 8:41 am. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously. 

The next regular School Board meeting will be held at 7:15 am Monday, June 10, 2024 in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School. 

Matthew Lemke made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:42 am. The motion was seconded by Kirby Anderson and carried unanimously. 

A work session followed the regular board meeting.