Greenway School levy to drop slightly

December 26, 2019

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    Homeowners in Independent School District 316 will see the school-related portion of their property taxes decrease slightly next year. On Dec. 18, Randi Jurgansen, ISD 316 business manager, presented the 2020 Truth in Taxation hearing. School district taxes are highly regulated by the state of Minnesota. The state sets the formula, the tax policy and the maximum authorized property tax levy. Taxes collected in 2020 will be used the by school district in 2021. 

    The levy makes up only 17 percent of the district’s budget. Last year, the district levied $3.2 million. This year, the board approved a $3.157 million dollar levy. That is a decrease of $58,000 or a percentage decrease of 1.81 percent. 

    District 316’s school board also heard an auditor’s report last Wednesday. WIPFLI CPA’s and Consultants auditor Michelle R. Swoboda made the audit presentation to the board for the audit ending in June 2019. Swoboda told the board the district was compliant with state statutes. 

    The school board also approved the World’s Best Workforce report. According to the Minnesota Department of Education’s website, school boards must adopt a long-term, comprehensive strategic plan to support and improve teaching and learning. This plan addresses the following five goals: 

    • All children are ready for school.

    • All third-graders can read at grade level.

    • All racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed.

    • All students are ready for career and college.

    • All students graduate from high school.

    Of the district’s goals for 2018-2019, early childhood students’ oral language scores were to show growth of 28 percent. Students exceeded the goal by measuring 34.5 percent growth. However, the goal of preschool students’ letter sound scores show a growth of 48 percent fell short - as students measured only 38 percent growth. Superintendent David Pace told the board that, starting in January, pre-kindergarten students who have been identified as falling behind at the four-year old level will be attending school five days a week, rather than four. The district did meet its graduation goal of 98.4 percent. 

    Board directors LaNea Johnson and Michael Williams were the dissenting votes in approving the WBW 2019 report. According to Williams, the number of grammatical errors in the rough draft provided to the board was embarrassing. According to Superintendent Pace, the report sent to the state is just a checklist, not the report in front of board members. Williams asked that the report be brought to the board for approval earlier. 

    Johnson, the other dissenting vote, told other board members that handwriting goals should be added to the list. “Spelling and vocab in the 5th (grade) and beyond, I think we’re dropping off on some of those things in those grade levels, and I really want to see those included in there.” Board Chair Bill Hoeft suggested a discussion with the curriculum committee. 

    ISD 316’s school board also acknowledged a School Pool Wellness Grant in the amount of $1,550 from the Northeast Service Cooperative and approval of Membership Range Association of Municipalities and Schools (RAMS).

    A cooperative boys’ lacrosse program was approved for this spring with Independent School District 318. The students will practice and play in Grand Rapids. 

Greenway School Board

June 28, 2019

By David Moody

KMFY Radio


    The Independent School District 316 met in regular session on Wednesday, June 19. The meeting began with approval of the May 2019 Claims and Treasurer report as well as the May wire transfers. 

    The school board approved their revised 2019 budget. The revised budget for fiscal year 2019, as of this month, shows a positive fund balance in the general fund of $47,000. The board also approved the budget for fiscal year 2020. Even with the increases in state aid, there is a projected deficit for 2020 of $364,000, which would come out of the district’s fund balance.     

    Superintendent David Pace noted that the school district has approved deficit budgets in previous years and that the board was able to narrow the financial gap. Going forward, he fully expects that to be the case again. 

    The board approved adoption of the School District’s Long Term Facilities Maintenance (LTFM) plan which involves working with Esko on a heating and ventilation upgrade at both Vandyke and Greenway High School. The work would begin in the summer of 2020. This was an $11.2 million dollar bonding, specifically against LTFM dollars. There will be no increase on next year’s levy due to the way the debt is structured. 

    The school board also approved a facilities use agreement with the Greenway Recreation Board; a professional service agreement with Hill City Public Schools for school psychologist services, and a professional services contract with ISD 6070, the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative for disability services. The board acknowledged a Wells Fargo Foundation grant in the amount of $1,000 for financial education.

    The district will continue their unpaid meal charge and debt collection procedure for seniors. Each year, the school district loses money from unpaid meal debts. 

    The board tabled, for future discussion, a resolution related to the termination and non-renewal of a teacher contract for a probationary teacher. 

    The board approved new contracts with John Peterson, assistant athletic director and Jordan Haggberg, speech language pathologist assistant. 

    Finally, the board approved their group health insurance quote for next year with Blue Cross Blue Shield through the North East Service Co-Op.

Pace says he will remain at Greenway for another three years

September 06, 2018

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    As of Tuesday, classes are underway at area schools. 

    Students at Independent School District 316 have more class choices. The school board voted last fall to invest in an Agriculture/Natural Sciences teacher and curriculum. 

Students in middle school grades will be exposed to more exploratory classes including natural science and food/agriculture science. Upper grades can choose from Introduction to Animal Sciences, Natural Resource Sciences: Small & Large Wildlife Management, Geographic Information Science (GIS), and a Natural Resource Sciences: Forestry & the Environment class. According to Superintendent David Pace, enrollment in the new science classes look very good. 

    Late last Wednesday, the school board agreed to add a new fifth grade teacher for this fall. The fifth grade class was scheduled to be three sections of 30 students or more. Superintendent Pace recommended the school board add another teacher this fall to bring the class size down. “When we move to the fifth grade, we don’t have as many supports (including title services).” Pace said it would be proactive to add another teacher to continue the academic progress the school has achieved. “We want to set these students up to succeed.” In total, the district has added eight new teachers. 

    Board Chair Bill Hoeft gave the summary of the superintendent’s evaluation from July. “The board is very happy with the progress we are making, I’m happy to say (that) Mr. Pace met or exceeded board expectations in all our goals. We had a nice conversation around where we are going over the next year, and I can happily report that at that time, Mr. Pace also provided written notice of his intent to be with us for another three years after this next year.” Pace was evaluated on ten areas, including school board communication, leadership on educational programs and public relations. The board’s two primary focuses included curriculum and instructional growth, and becoming a stake-holder (investment in community/networking). 

    In staffing news, the board;

    • Rescinded the hire of Zachary Schaunaman, Middle School football coach 

    • Approved the hire of Andrew Fort, Middle School football coach 

    • Approved the retirement of Jon Venditto, custodian, effective August 10, 2018 

    • Approved the resignation of Colleen Schmiesing, special education paraprofessional effective August 8, 2018 

    • Approved the resignation of Cortney Christensen, academic interventionist, effective July 26, 2018 

    • Approved the resignation of Cortney Christensen, special education paraprofessional, effective July 26, 2018 

    • Approved the resignation of Kayleigh Anderson, special education paraprofessional, effective August 21, 2018 

    • Approved the hire of Sybil Ruder, special education paraprofessional, effective September 10, 2018 

    • Approved the hire of Shelsea Bartoo, .547 FTE academic interventionist, effective August 27, 2018 

    • Approved the hire of Megan Falardeau, .547 FTE academic interventionist, effective August 27, 2018 

    • Approved the hire of Leigha Huffman, 1.0 FTE licensed school nurse, effective August 27, 2018

    • Approved the hire of Kayla McInerney, special education paraprofessional, effective September 4, 2018

    • Approved the hire of Jackie Carpenter, special education paraprofessional, effective September 4, 2018

    • Approved the resignation of Paula Dibb, special education paraprofessional, effective August 29, 2018 

    • Approved the hire of Robin Butler, annual community education weight room supervisor, effective September 4, 2018 - May 2019 

Greenway mulls school safety measures, funding

March 08, 2018

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


School safety isn’t far from anyone’s mind. Last week, during the Greenway School Board meeting, directors discussed building and student safety measures. 

Superintendent David Pace said Safe School dollars allotted to the district are available for districts to hire counselors, security officers, social workers, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselors. The money Greenway receives, $38,000 a year, wouldn’t pay for a single one of those employees. He also told lawmakers last week that if the state adds safety or security mandates, they’ll have to come up with the money to pay for them. 

Directors discussed adding solid wood doors, covering the glass in internal classroom doors with metal, and other safety protocols. Randi Jorgensen, business manager, told board directors that the district is aware of some issues, but doesn’t have the finances to add more safety features. 

This winter, high school students had the opportunity to sign up for newly added courses. Intro to Small Business and a Student Leadership class are now available. For 9th and 10th grade students, Introduction to Natural Resources, Intro to Animal Science,

Natural Resources Science, Small and Large Wildlife Management, GIS systems, Forestry Science, and others will be available next fall. Sign up for Introduction to Natural Science, C-I-S course, in conjunction with Itasca Community College, also may be available.

The board approved the retirement of Karen Buchert, licensed school nurse after 19 years with the district, effective Aug. 31.

In other business, the board: 

• Recognized a donation in the amount of $100 from Pat Healy Young in memory of Dick Healy and Sandy Healy for the Vandyke food service angel fund.

• Recognized a donation in the amount of $200 from Blondina Schmid for the Vandyke food service angel fund.

• Recognize donation in the amount of $20 from Jeanne Roberts/Candida Foster for the Vandyke food service angel fund.

• Recognized a donation in the amount of $500 from Zakobe LLC for the Robotics Student Activity

• Recognize donation in the amount of $25 from Larry and Nancy McClain for the Vandyke food service angel fund.

Teacher and Administration moves:

• Approved the resignation of Trista Akre, Special Education Paraprofessional, effective Feb. 26, 2018.

• Approved the hire of Kayleigh Anderson, Special Education Paraprofessional, effective February 12, 2018.

• Approved the resignation of Louise LoBosco, Health/PE Teacher, effective Aug. 31, 2018

• Approve Post Prom Committee utilizing students for BINGO fundraising.

• Approved a contract with Tanya Elich, Payroll Specialist, effective July 1, 2017- June 30, 2019.

• Approved the hire of Jerrica Mutchler, Special Education Paraprofessional, effective March 12, 2018.

• Approved the hire of Colleen Schmiesing, Special Education Paraprofessional, effective March 19, 2018.

• Approved the resignation of Megan Toole, Elementary Teacher, effective Aug. 31, 2018.

• Approved the hire of Natasha Maninga, Agriculture Teacher, effective for the 2018-19 SY (additional 20 duty days).

Greenway approves two-year teacher contract

February 08, 2018

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


Last week, the School Board of Independent School District (ISD) 316 approved the 2017-18 and 2018-19 contract with Education Minnesota, Local 1330, effective July 1, 2017. 

Terms of the agreement include a 2.5 percent raise on the salary schedule for 2017-18 and for 2018-2019. The board also approved contracts with Maintenance Supervisor Mark Backman and Human Resource Coordinator Danea Rutherford. Backman and Rutherford’s contracts are effective through 2020. Superintendent David Pace said the committee is still working on contracts with the district’s principals.

During the meeting, Business Manager Randi Jurgansen gave the board an update on the district’s 2018 budget. The revised budget shows a deficit of $197,000. The board agreed last year to deficit spend by more than $400,000. New numbers show the district has cut over-spending by half. 

Jurgansen attributed the decrease to a number of items including an increase in taconite monies, a settlement with Education Minnesota (received by all districts), a smaller-than-expected bill for replacing the school’s boiler stack, and an increase in number of students. 

Greenway maintains a 12 percent fund balance.

Clare Schumaker made a presentation to the board on the STEM program’s process. According to Superintendent David Pace, “Our goal is to provide (students) with a sound educational background.” Schumaker said the district has promised partnerships with Bigfork Valley Hospital and Evergreen Terrace to work with the district. 

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a $5,000 grant from the Northland Foundation for Greenway Positive Behavior Promotion (PBIS) for the period of Jan. 1, 2018 to Jan. 31, 2019

• Approved the hiring of Jessica Wilcowski, temporary scholarship coach.

• Approved the hiring of Kelly Crow, social worker, effective Feb. 5. 

• Approved the resignation of Wayne Hoffmeister, maintenance, after 38 years of employment.

Greenway gets clean bill of financial health

December 07, 2017

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


At their Nov. 29 meeting, the School Board of Independent School District 316 received a favorable audit from Jen Smith of accounting firm Wipfli LLP, which provides accounting and business consulting services to the district.

The audit covered the year ending June 30, 2017. Both revenue and expenses were more than expected, according to the audit, giving the district an excess fund balance. An increase in special education funding, increased taconite production revenue, receipt of tax forfeited land, and increased fiscal disparity revenue contributed. Increased expenditures were credited to an increase in contract services costs.

The district’s unrestricted fund balance ended the year at 33 percent. Seventeen percent is sufficient, according to Smith. Superintendent David Pace told board members that the district is looking at ways to draw down the fund to benefit kids. 

“When you start using those reserve dollars, they’re gone. The only revenue source we have are the students coming into the building,” Pace said. “In some of the areas, there is significant capital improvements that you have to do or capital investment in some of the programs, so you have to be systematic in your choices.”

Community Education is one account in which the district has a surplus. “We are looking at different opportunities for the public. We want to make sure we’re capitalizing on those dollars. Moving forward, I think we have to take a broad look at our district. We’re analyzing things, such as our special education cost, which, going through the audit, is one of our significant costs. We have a pretty high cross-subsidy. There is state reimbursement, which doesn’t cover all the costs. Right now, there’s a million and a half dollars in local costs just for special education costs,” Pace said. 

Muriel Harbin and Lisa Strom spoke to board members regarding the district’s councilor situation. Strom told the board that Heather Sutherland, the one councilor at the Greenway school, was doing a great job, but was overwhelmed. In July, Heather Vranicar submitted her resignation. Vranicar was the second counselor at Greenway. Her position was not filled. 

According to the, Minnesota students’ mental health and academic counseling needs have dramatically increased, however, funding and hiring of school counselors has not kept up with this growing demand. A 2009 study by MN2020 and the Minnesota School Counselors Association, student mental health care needs have increased including interpersonal and family problems, depression, aggressive or disruptive behavior, anxiety and ADHD.

The board held a brief closed meeting, reopened the public meeting, and approved the termination of paraprofessional Teresa Cerutti. The reason was not made public.

The board recognized a donation from Joe and Holly Guyer, in memory of Jen Guyer, to Vandyke Elementary in the amount of $100 for the purchase of library books. They also recognized a donation from Cleveland Cliffs Inc. to GNK Cross Country Team in the amount of $750.

Greenway sets preliminary levy

October 05, 2017

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    The school board of Independent School District 316 approved the maximum proposed levy with a 5.3 percent increase last Wednesday evening during the regularly scheduled board meeting. 

    The 2017 Pay in 2018 for fiscal year 2019 proposed levy was certified. The board will finalize the levy in December. The number, according to Business Manager Randi Jurgansen will actually be 2.04 percent. The levy amount can’t be raised, but it can be lowered in December. Last year, the board approved a -1.06 percent levy and in 2015, the levy was 1.6 percent. Jurgansen said the levy increased because of decreased taconite taxes and increased property wealth within the district.  

    The board approved an update to the Q-Comp program, substitute pay and a revised policy regarding visitors to the buildings.

    About 43 percent of Greenway’s students are involved in some activity. Athletic Director Dan Mell gave the board a snapshot of athletic activity in the district. Fifty-one students are involved in cross country, 94 students (1/3 from Nashwauk/Keewatin) are involved in football, and 41 play volleyball. According to Mell, the grade point average for fall/winter/spring athletes in Greenway is 3.23. 

    In other business, the board approved the hiring of:

    • Andy Sertich, Boys’ Hockey JV head coach 

    • Jen McInerney, Co-ed Cheerleaders advisor winter (Ice) 

    • Ryan Wright, Girls’ Basketball head coach 

    • Adam Johnson, Boys’ Hockey Varsity assistant coach 

    • Grant Clafton, Boys’ Hockey coach

    • Alex McDonald, Boys’ Basketball Middle School - 7th grade coach and Boys’ Basketball Middle School - 8th grade coach 

    • Aaron Morhart, Boys’ Basketball – 9th grade coach 

    • Tina Gould, Boys’ Basketball – B - Team coach 

    • James Early, Boys’ Basketball head coach 

    • Sara Wright, Girls’ Basketball – B- Team coach 

    •Thorina Sievenpieper, Co –Ed Academic League advisor - Elementary 

    • Cheryl Lester, Co-Ed Academic League advisor - Middle School 

    • Will Floersheim, Co-Ed Academic League advisor- High School 

    The board also approved the resignation of Debra Pace, special education paraprofessional.

Greenway approves AFSCME contract

September 07, 2017

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    Vandyke Elementary School did not hold its usual open house this fall. Instead, according to Principal Sue Hoeft, teachers held 20-minute fall conferences. 

    Hoeft told the school board last Wednesday night during the August school board meeting that the one-on-one time with parents was much more meaningful that an open house. She hoped it would “be a good way to build the family engagement in our school and keep parents connected to their classroom teacher.” Vandyke Elementary School enrolment was at 401 students as of last week.

    The board also voted to approve a two-year contract with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The contract calls for a $.60 per hour increase to each position on the rate table for fiscal year 2018 and no compensation added to the rate table for fiscal year 2019. 

    Students are reminded to leave their backpacks in their lockers while in school. Principal Jeff Britten said there isn’t enough room for students to carry everything with them to class. 

    Other items approved by the board include:

    • Approved the 2017-2018 teaching assignments.

    • Approved the hiring of nine paraprofessionals.

    • Approved the Greenway High School Handbook.

    • Approved the Special Education Paraprofessional Handbook.

    • Approved the hiring of Karen Lobosco as a Phy Ed/Health teacher. The board also rescinded the hiring of Katie Cody (Phy Ed/Health), who has since resigned. 

Greenway to leave counselor position unfilled

August 03, 2017

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    The Greenway School Board agreed to leave one counselor position unfilled Wednesday night July 26, after the resignation of Heather Vranicar. 

    Independent School District 316 Superintendent David Pace told the board, “We passed a $400,000 deficit budget. Our enrollment is declining, which is associated with that. This was an opportune time to look at that position, reorganize staff and job duties. We’ve been looking at that for 8 days now. Nobody likes to reduce positions. Every position can be justified at some point in time.”

    School Board Director Michael Williams said he was concerned about cutting the position. Pace reminded Williams and other board members that the district still has one counselor, social workers, and mental health professionals available. 

    The board approved the 2017-2018 fee schedule for the school year. Elementary student lunches will continue to cost $2.15 and secondary lunches will remain at $2.40. One fee raised this year was the family maximum for student activity/athletics, now at $325.

    This year’s Greenway football team will be co-coached. Bob Schwartz and Mark Gibeau will share the duties. Other coaches approved by the board last week include assistant football coaches Jamie Guyer and Joe Westlake. The first game will be Sept. 12 at home. Nick Emanual was named B Team coach. Ben Sletten will assist. Zack Schaunaman was named the middle school football coach and Aaron Bouchie will assist. Rhaya Anderson will head the volleyball team and Aaron Morhar will assist. The C-squad volleyball team will be headed by Taylor Orhn. Lew Smiley was named as girls head tennis coach. Chris Granley will assist. Will Floersheim will continue heading the cross country team with the assistance of Jeri Peterson and James Early. Jen McInerney will be the cheerleader advisor. 

    The board approved revised handbooks for teachers, substitutes, elementary students, and high school students. 

    New employees at the district will include Evan Petz (Special Education Teacher) and Jennifer Greene (Special Education Teacher). 

    Resignations approved by the board include Michael Pechovnik (Special Education Paraprofessional), teacher Michele Boitz-Haag, Dawn Howard (Special Education Paraprofessional), Heather Vranicar (Counselor), and the retirement of Christine Plackner (Assistant Cook). Sue Thompsen also submitted her resignation, after serving the district for 22 years. 

    The board approved July claims in the amount of $608,262.67.

Greenway to continue in IASC

July 06, 2017

By Kathy Lynn, KOZY Radio


    Greenway schools will continue to be part of the Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (IASC). 

    On a 3-2 vote at their June 28 meeting, the school board of Independent School District 316 voted to approve participation in the IASC. The agenda item was on May’s agenda, but the Greenway board tabled the issue. 

    Previously, the IASC board previously voted on all measures. Changes allowing the administrative committee board to make decisions for the board forced the Greenway school board to stall the vote to participate last month. District 316 Board Chair Bill Hoeft said he was not comfortable allowing the committee to make decisions that the board, as a whole, might not approve. Directors Fred Tanner and Bob Schwartz cast the dissenting votes. The measure was approved, on the condition that the issue will be reviewed in six months. 

    ISD 316 also voted to send a letter of intent to drop out of the Special Ed IASC Coop in 2017-18. Superintendent David Pace said, “If we (ISD 316) can do a better job for less money, we have to consider that.” Discussions will continue.

    The board also approved the revised 2016-17 budget and the revised 2017-2018 budget. The district will deficit spend almost a half million dollars. The approved 2017-2018 budget is approximately $401,489 over what the district will take in. Business Manager Randi Jorgensen presented the board with preliminary numbers. 

    The board approved the unpaid meal charge and debt collection procedure. Principals Jeff Britten and Sue Hoeft told the board that no child has ever been or will ever be stopped from eating school meals. 

    In other business, the board: 

    • Approved a renewal of consulting agreement with INAC for the period of July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

    • Approved the facilities use agreement with Greenway Joint Recreation for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved a Professional Services Agreement with Children’s Mental Health for REACH programming, June 5, 2017-Aug. 3, 2017.

    • Approved a purchase services agreement with Children’s Mental Health for Behavior Intervention Specialist support for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved a Library Service Agreement with the city of Coleraine for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved a professional services agreement with the city of Coleraine for police liaison services for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved professional services agreement with 321 Art Studio effective for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved a professional services agreement with ISD 2 (Hill City) for school psychologist services for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved professional services agreement with ISD 319 (Nashwauk-Keewatin) for .2 FTE speech services effective for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved professional service agreement with ISD 319 for .5 FTE Speech Services for the 2017-18 school year at a rate of $51,870.

    • Approved a professional service agreement with ISD 319 for .5 FTE Speech Services for the 2017-18 school year at a rate of $12,892.

    • Approved agreement with ISD 319 for Alternative Learning Program effective Aug. 15, 2017-June 15, 2018.

    • Approved professional services agreement with IASC (ISD 6070) for licensed hearing, physical and other health disability services, effective for the 2017-18 school year.

    • Approved annual membership renewal with MREA (Minnesota Rural Education Association) for 2017-18 at a cost of $2,242

    • Approved contract with Assistant to the Activities Director Contract, John Peterson, effective the 2017-18 school year at a rate of $18,200.

    • Approved resignation of Sue Holm, Health & PE Teacher, effective the end of the 2016-17 school year.


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