N-K angling class reels in students

June 28, 2019

    High school math teacher Luke Adam was on hand at last week’s Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board meeting to provide officials with an update on his class in fishing. Adam first won approval from the board to start the class in October of 2018.

    “I never thought in my wildest dreams it would explode like it has, but literally it has taken off beyond all leaps and bounds in the last couple months,” said Adam. Forty-one students signed up for the next offering of the class. Currently, there are 29 students signed up.

    Adam said that community members were surprised to learn that the class was more than going out and catching a bunch of fish. He stressed the fact that key components of the class include fisheries science, conservation, fish behavior, volunteerism, map-reading as well as the where-and-when of fishing. 

    Adam told officials about a volunteer project that the class worked on in conjunction with local DNR personnel. The class helped clean up a stretch of Pickle Creek, a trout stream in Pengilly. 

    Adam said he couldn’t believe the amount of garbage that was present in that creek. He showed a picture of two trash can liners filled with garbage, a barrel, two bicycles, a broken snowboard as well as various cans, bottles, and broken plastic containers. “I filled the back of my truck up completely and then we came back here and recycled it,” he said.

    The class also had a booth at the Itasca Water Summit that was held at the Itasca County Fairgrounds this past May. The goal of the Summit is to draw attention to issues affecting clean waters. The Summit is attended by approximately 500 fifth graders each May.

    The class also has developed partnerships since its inception. Minnesota fishing personality Ron Schara sent the class 40 copies of a book he authored. L&M Fleet Supply provided group discounts on fishing gear. And, Border View Lodge had sponsored a fishing trip. Adam said that some area fishing guides had also been involved, including Greg Clusiau.

    Adam presented some maps that the students had created. He said that the kids pooled their knowledge of DNR gill net surveys, fish habits, lake habitat and created “hot spot maps” of some of the area lakes. The maps were used by the students to predict locations of various fish species throughout the year.

    The program has received wide-spread support from as far away as Colorado. Adam said that a trip to the Rainy River for sturgeon fishing inspired a man from Colorado to write and make a financial contribution to the class. Adam made mention of a lady in Wisconsin who sent him a donation of $50, as well as a property owner who invited the class to fish a river that runs through the property.

    Adam concluded his remarks with some commentary on the class’ finances. He said the class has funding through December. When Adam made his initial presentation to the board in October of 2018, he said that the DNR had awarded the program a $20,000 grant to get the class started. Adam indicated that there was still some remaining grant money. Adam said that he has also been in contact with a boat manufacturer who may be willing to sponsor the class in the future. Adam said that he would also be looking for support from local organizations, area legions, fire departments, the Nashwauk Endowment, and other fishing organizations. Ultimately, Adam is seeking partial funding for continuation of the class from the board. “Are you guys willing to partner with this a little bit and put forth some money financially, … or do I have to raise all of the funds for it?” he asked. 

    Superintendent Matt Grose responded that a budget would have to be put together before any decisions could be made.

    In other business, the board:

    • Adopted the 2018/2019 revised budget and the 2019/2020 budget.

    • Approved MSHSL 2019/2020 resolution.

    • Approved the ARCC 2019/2020 Contract for Services.

    • Approved the Close Up Group to take a trip to Washington DC and New York City, March 29-April 5, 2020.

    • Approved meal prices for the 2019/2020 school year with no changes.

    • Approved a resolution regarding board control over extracurricular activities.

Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board

January 17, 2019

    The Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board convened for its 2019 organizational meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at the high school. The first order of business was to swear in newly elected Board member Jill Hammer. Hammer was the sole candidate on the November ballot to replace outgoing board member Dave Bevacqua. Board Chair Lisa Peratalo presided over the ceremony. Peratalo and Jeff Sundquist won re-election bids in November as well.

    After Hammer was sworn in, the board voted to extend Peratalo’s tenure as board chair. 

    The board established the following as official depositories: American Bank of Nashwauk, MSDLA Fund Plus, PMA/MN Trust, Associated Trust and Wells Fargo Trust. The board designated The Scenic Range NewsForum as the district’s official newspaper. The board also named three representatives for legal council: John Colosimo; the firm of Knutson, Flynn and Deans; and the firm of Ratwik, Roszak and Maoloney.

Superintendent Matt Grose said that the three legal entities each brought a specialization to the table that would cover the district’s needs. 

    Board members will be compensated at a rate of $175 per month. The board chair will be compensated at a rate of $225 per month. Board members can miss up to three regularly scheduled meetings. Expenses such as lodging and meals will be reimbursed.

N-K School District to launch angling class

November 01, 2018

    The Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board convened for its scheduled meeting on Oct. 24 at the high school. High school teacher Luke Adam was on hand to seek support for starting a fishing class. 

    Adam said that he worked on a DNR grant application throughout the summer to procure funds for the class. His application was selected for funding in the amount of $20,000, which will be used to offer the class beginning in the spring semester of 2019 through January 2020. Adam said he intends to cover all aspects of fishing. He added that he will have guides as guest speakers, and will take kids fishing.

    The class will be broken into three phases. Unit one will be called Species and Targeting. This unit will cover Minnesota angling history, methods of fishing, map reading, methods used to assimilate DNR data, and best methods to present bait and lure fish. Students will also partner with someone who can take them fishing and will go fishing locally as a class.

    Unit two will be called Preservation and Conservation. This unit will cover fishing regulations, lakeshore stewardship, as well as proper catch and release tactics. Students will also learn about lakes that have crashed in Minnesota and how some of these issues were addressed. Students will observe either stocking or the taking of spawn and write about their experiences.

    The final unit will be entitled “Invasive Species.” In this part of the class, students will read a variety of media sources to determine the major threats to area fisheries. Students will also generate slogans to be used in the creation of bumper stickers and pamphlets about invasive species. These resources will be shared with other students and the public.

    Board Director Barb Kalmi asked Adam what he intended to use for curriculum. Adam said that there was some curriculum available but he intended to develop most of the curriculum himself. 

    The class would be offered 7th hour. Adam said he intends to partner with the science department to make Angling an elective class.

    Adam told the board that he had underestimated the cost of the class and there would be a cost to the district. The board voted in favor of contributing an amount not exceed $3,000. If cost exceeds $3,000, the matter will return to the board.

    In other business, the board:

    • Approved a request for Spanish students to travel to Puerto Rico June 12 to 21, 2019.

    • Approved the Indian Education Home School Liaison Contract for 2018-2019.

    • Approved the Spanish Language Pathologist Assistant Contract for 2017-2019.

    • Approved a contract with Teachers On Call to provide substitute teachers when needed.

    • Approved the Accounting and Financial Procedures manual for ISD 319.

N-K School Board approves building maintenance work

July 26, 2018

    The ISD 319 School Board convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 18 at the Nashwauk High School. At a previous board meeting District Superintendent Matt Grose suggest performing some maintenance at the elementary school and the high school. Grose prioritized the issues that needed attention, placing safety hazards at the top of the list. At Wednesday’s meeting, he had two quotes, one from Griffiths Construction Company and one from Hawk Construction. District Business Manager Lorrie Larson recommended approving the lower bid from Griffiths and the board did so. 

    Grose then outlined the work to be done.

    At Keewatin, the two walkways leading up to the east side of the school from the public sidewalk will be replaced with one primary sidewalk half way between the existing sidewalks. The primary sidewalk will then split into a north arm and a south arm to access the two entrances to the building. Two existing sidewalks south and east of the building will be removed and replaced with grass. The playground south of the school will have a sidewalk installed, and stairs on the south side of the building will be removed. Grose said those stairs are no longer necessary. The quote from Griffiths to perform this work is $50,550.00.

    At Nashwauk the rear steps near the gym entrance will be removed and replaced with grass. The existing steps on the south side of the building will be replaced. Grose recommended replacing the dumpster pad but a question arose about whether the pad was on city property and, therefore, should not be included in the contract. Grose agreed to look into the matter. 

    Moving on, Grose said that the sidewalk and stairs coming out of the band room would be repaired. The stairs on the northwest side of the building would be repaired, and the walkway to access the building from the northwest corner of the block would be removed. The cost to do this work is estimated to be $35,400. The motion to complete the work on both buildings passed with the stipulation that rebuilding of the pad under the dumpster would be pulled from the bid if the underlying property belongs to the city.

    In other business, the board:

    • Approved the PSA School Psychologist Contract for FY19.

    • Approved the state-mandated long term facilities maintenance 10 year Maintenance Plan.

    • Approved a resolution regarding the election of three school board members and calling the school district general election on Nov. 6. Filing opens on July 31 and closes on Aug. 14. Filing cost is $2.00.

    • Approved keeping meal prices at their current levels for the 2018-2019 school year. 

    • Approved the hire of two coaches, and two teachers.

N-K School Board apprised of facility repair needs

June 29, 2018

    At last week’s meeting of the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board, Superintendent Matt Grose noted that Grand Rapids would be hosting ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training in August. 

    ALICE training takes a new approach in responding to school shootings in that it promotes evacuation of a school if possible in the event of an active shooter versus the traditional “lockdown only” approach. Grose said that the district could send two representatives. Those representatives would then train others in the district. 

    The approach will likely take a couple of years to fully implement. Grose also noted that ALICE training is occurring on a regional basis meaning anyone responding to an incident will have the same protocols in place.

    Maintenance issues also were discussed. Grose noted that the district still has money left over from bonding and abatements and that the money could be used for small projects. 

    As superintendent, he said his first responsibility was to ensure the safety of everyone that uses the district’s facilities. He recommended making repairs to railings and stairs, particularly at Keewatin. He also noted that some drinking fountains were in need of repair and that moisture remediation was a concern. The nursing/shower area at Keewatin is in need of renovation as well, said Grose.

    At the high school, Grose reported that the parking lot is in need of repairs. Locker rooms and bathroom stalls have to be made more functional. Grose said that money had been spent on the pool area to make it usable for more activities. He noted that the kitchen/concessions area is in need of more space, and said that converting an adjacent storage room to additional kitchen space could help to alleviate the problem without a lot of work.

Grose also noted that additional storage space was needed for seasonal equipment.


    Moving the band to another area was briefly discussed. Grose said he did not know how big the band would be in the coming year but last year’s band was “stuffed in there pretty good.”

    Many of the suggestions staff had previously made had already been taken care of, but there were still some items that could be addressed for a modest amount of money. “I think we have some opportunities to do some things at a low cost that will improve the area we live in” said Grose.

    Board Director Barb Kalmi asked about the plan to renovate the kitchen at Keewatin. Grose responded that proceeding with the kitchen remodel at Keewatin would “pretty much eat up all the money we have left.” 

    Grose concluded his remarks by noting that he intended to proceed with repairs that were a safety concern but would return to the board with estimates on the remaining items presented.

    In other district news, the board:

    • Approved the ARCC 2018-2019 contract for services.

    • Approved the Minnesota State High School League 2018-2019 resolution.

    • Adopted a resolution relating to the termination and non-renewal of a paraprofessional, probationary employee.

    • Approved a professional services agreement for Speech for fiscal year 2019. 

N-K students participate in lock-down exercises

April 12, 2018

The ISD 319 School Board convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on March 28 at the high school. During his monthly update on activities at the high school, principal Paul Brainard said that the high school had recently conducted lock-down exercises. 

Nashwauk and Keewatin police were on hand to assist in the activities, and that the exercise “went very well.” Brainard said several lock-down drills have been conducted at the Keewatin Elementary School and that two more drills would be conducted before the end of the school year.

In a related matter, Brainard reported that a student intervention team had been formed. The purpose of the group is to identify fellow students in need. The group meets every Thursday. Some of the resources that the group has at its disposal are children’s mental health, special education, teachers and truancy officers. He characterized the group as a first line of defense and said the team would be trying to identify troubled students before they became a problem. 

The team would also play a role in responding to a crisis in the building.

At the conclusion of Brainard’s report, Board Director Dave Bevacqua asked Brainard if there had been any evacuation practice. Brainard said that he was in the midst of making plans for drills that would involve evacuations. 

Bevacqua said that he was impressed by the preparedness of the Parkland Florida students. “It was incredible; they knew exactly what to do.”

Superintendent Matt Grose said there has been a shift in philosophies on how to respond to these incidents. He cited ALICE, (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) which is training aimed at proactively confronting the threat of an aggressive intruder. He said the ALICE philosophy is gaining momentum. Referring to the ALICE philosophy, Grose said, “It’s more about getting out of there than hunkering down.”

Brainard said that he is also looking into ways to verify whether or not an evacuation is necessary. In recent school shootings, fire alarms were used to draw students out of the buildings.

Grose echoed Brainard’s point, saying that the district would have to re-examine its policy on fire alarms. “There are many times when that alarm is going off where it might not be an emergency at all and it’s best to stay in the building” said Grose.

Emergency folders for classrooms are also being updated with instruction for appropriate response depending on the nature of the emergency.

Technology could have a role to play as well. Gross cited a demonstration at a conference he had recently attended in which teachers could take attendance in real time on their phones. “I think there are some tools that are out there and being developed that will be able to help us.” 

In other business, the board:

• Approved the hiring of Kari Bowers for the position of School paraprofessional.

• Approved the 2017-2019 AFSCME contract.

• Approved the IASC Nashwauk-Keewatin calendar for 2018-2019.

• Approved a request to remove Derek Gabardi and add Matt Grose as a card holder, and to add Lorrie Larson as the maintenance manager.

• Adopted a resolution to send termination and non-renewal letters to three probationary teachers so that the three positions can be re-posted as per Minnesota Department of Education rules.

Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board

January 25, 2018

At last week’s Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board meeting, Interim Superintendent Matt Grose said that one of the things that his group has been working on in IASC (Itasca Area Schools Collaborative) is the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering Math) grant. 

The current grant focuses on career paths in manufacturing, process operations, and health care, with health care the most mature of the three. Grose characterized the class in Healthcare Occupations as a “gateway class,” which allows students to explore the possibilities available in the health care field. 

Another class that will be offered at Nashwauk-Keewatin is Introduction To Psychology. The over-arching goal of the program is to expose students to some career pathways that would give them a clear sense of their potential in the field.

Board Director Barb Kalmi asked Grose where IASC was on the home grown teacher initiative. Grose responded that the STEM program had gained considerable momentum due to the career pathways concept and as a result the home grown teacher initiative “had come in on the back side of the STEM initiative.” He added that the initiative likely would be ready to go in the fall with a pilot program and Itasca Community College has shown some interest. Grose said that he wanted to start small, allow the program to build some momentum and go from there. 

The home grown teacher initiative would be similar to the STEM program in terms of the career pathways concept. “I think the career pathways is going to be the next big thing that IASC does,” said Grose.

The superintendent next turned his attention to facilities. He said that he had been involved in several meetings recently and noted that it might be helpful to have some drawings prepared to illustrate what a pre-K through 12 collaborative facility might look like. “When we talk about this pre-K through 12 collaborative facility, I think it’s unique enough that most people can’t get their head around it,” said Grose. 

Grose said that he had been in touch with ARI, an architectural/engineering firm, and personnel from that company thought the sketch would cost less than $3,000. 

In other business, the board:

• Accepted a resignation from the district’s business office, and one paraprofessional/Jr. Class Advisor, and hired one part-time custodian and one paraprofessional.

• Passed two resolutions in support of fully funding special education services.

• Entered into a purchase of services agreement with Invest Early for FY 2018.

• Passed a resolution on enrollment of non-resident students.

Audit findings revealed to N-K officials

December 28, 2017

The Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 20 and officials were presented with the results of an audit by Jennifer Smith of Wipfli, a Duluth-based firm hired to perform the audit. The state requires that each school district be audited once per year with the results forwarded to the department of education and the state auditor.

Smith began her presentation by issuing an opinion on the basic financial statements of the district. Smith said that her firm was giving the district an unmodified opinion meaning that the financial statements of the district appear to be true and correct. “A reader can rely upon those statements to be a true and accurate representation of the district’s finances,” she said.

When looking at management and compliance of two federal programs - food service and special education, Smith reported that two irregularities were found. Smith said that of the 40 children tested, four children receiving free and reduced priced meals were ineligible. In the second deficiency, the auditors found that the district’s verified applications on file did not match the verification summary submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education.

Four non-compliance issues were discovered when the firm looked at compliance with state statutes. These infractions consisted of failing to obtain a broker certification from a broker, failing to file a report of outstanding indebtedness, failing to obtain a contractor’s withholding affidavit, and failing to document newspaper advertisements for bids on a contract that exceeded $100,000.

Smith next turned her attention to the various funds that the district manages. With respect to the general fund, Smith said that the district had revenues for fiscal year 2017 of $8,889,799. Total expenditures were $8,816,926 leaving an excess of $72,873 to contribute to a final fund balance of $1,654,478.

Total revenues for the year in the food service fund were $389,057 and total expenditures were $372,886 leaving an excess of $16,171. The final food service balance is $114,203. Smith said that some of the final balance was “non-liquid,” such as inventory.

Smith moved on to discuss the community service fund where revenues were $104,103 and expenditures were $101,300 leaving an excess of $2,803. Smith reported the final fund balance as $56,452.

Smith noted that the debt service was new and previously debt was paid from the general fund. 

“The new fund will account for the general obligation facility maintenance bonds that were issued in 2017” said Smith, adding, “As principal and interest come due on those bonds it’s going to be paid from this fund.” Smith said revenues of $577 were generated from interest and expenditures of $13,063 were related to the issuance of the debt. Smith said that $13,063 was transferred into this fund from the construction fund leaving a balance of $577.

Another new fund is the building construction fund. Smith said that this fund was established to manage the proceeds from the bond sales. The balance in this fund is $41,352,203 which includes the transfer of $13,063 to the debt service fund.

The final fund discussed was the OPEB debt service fund. Smith indicated that the balance of the fund was $2,026,950 but the fund would show a drastic reduction once money in an escrow account was used to retire refinanced bonds.

At the conclusion of her presentation, Smith asked for input. Board Director Barb Kalmi asked how common it was to find four instances of non-compliance under one category. Smith said that four was “kind of a lot.” Kalmi asked if it could be due to lack of oversight. Smith would only say, “perhaps.”

In other business, the board:

• Set the date of district’s organizational meeting to be coincident with the regular meeting on Jan. 17.

• Voted in favor of allowing students in grades 7-12, who have student identification, free admission to home games. Younger students who are accompanied by a paying adult also will be allowed free admission.

• Accepted the low bid of $35,600 from Hawk Construction for the remodeling of the teacher’s lounge at NKHS.

• Accepted the low bid of $87,900 from Hawk Construction for refurbishing old pool finishes at Nashwauk High School.

• Accepted the first reading of policy 509: Enrollment of non-resident students.

• Approved posting one elementary special education position.

• Approved the 2018 levy in the amount of $834,883.

• Approved the wellness policy.

• Expelled an unidentified student.

• Hired two basketball coaches, one teacher, and accepted the resignation of one coach.

• Hired an interim high school principal to be compensated at a rate of $80,000 per year.

NK officials mull MCA, ACT scores

October 05, 2017

    At the Sept. 20 meeting of the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board, Lisa Tucci was on hand to assist Keewatin Elementary Principal Anne Olson-Reiners and Nashwauk High School Principal Derek Gabardi with a presentation on results of the MCA testing, which is administered on an annual basis.

    Tucci started out with a summary of the testing. She said that MCA testing is done in the areas of math, science and reading. Grades 3-8 are tested in math and reading, while 10th graders are only tested in reading and 11th graders are evaluated only in math. Fifth, eighth and 10th graders are tested in science.

    Tucci noted that reading scores came in at the state average of 58 to 59 percent proficiency over the past several years, but noted that there was a slight downward trend over the past year district-wide. In math she said that the state average was close to 60 percent. She said that there was a lot of variability in math scores throughout the district.

    Gabardi discussed scores at the high school for 7th, 8th and 10th graders. He said that scores had remained fairly steady over the past several years but did note a slight increase last year. 

    In math, Gabardi said that scores were steady except for 2014 when scores took a dip. Gabardi felt this was due to a change in testing format during that year. Tucci added that when the state changes testing companies it tends to affect testing scores.

    Gabardi said that science scores also took a slight dip. He said he was looking forward to seeing if those scores could rebound in the future.

    The presenters next turned their attention to ACT scores. Gabardi and Tucci said that ACT scores had also taken a dip. Both Gabardi and Tucci said this was in part due to the fact that ACT tests were administered on a voluntary basis prior to 2016. Tucci said that this meant the higher performing students were taking the test, and students not intending to go on for a four year degree were mostly not taking the test. After 2016, the state mandated the test. Gabardi and Tucci both felt that this change introduced lower performing students into the pool thus lowering the district’s average.

    Olson-Reiners noted a slight decline in test scores at Keewatin Elementary. She felt the decline could be traced to resources that the state funded but then removed.

    Graduation rates took a slight dip in 2015. Tucci noted that except for 2015 the district was always above the state average. Gabardi said that small class sizes could have a profound influence of graduation rates because the failure of one or two students to graduate could cause a large swing,

    At the conclusion of the presentation, Board Member Barb Kalmi said that she was very disappointed in this year’s test scores. Said Kalmi “I just don’t know how to say it any differently than it just looks very disturbing to me. I don’t know what happened and I don’t mean to point fingers; I just know something needs to change here, and my expectation is that it is going to change.” 

    Interim Superintendent Matt Grose echoed Kalmi’s frustration saying “We can make excuses or we can make progress, but we can’t do both.”

    Gabardi said that his staff was looking at various solutions. Said Gabardi “We can’t just throw things at the wall and hope they stick. We have to have purpose in what we’re doing.” He also said the District has to continue to perform peer reviews and enable access to world class technology. Olson-Reiners plans to make several tools available to her staff including literacy initiatives. She also said that she has a goal of increasing test scores by 3 percent in the areas of math, science and reading. 

    In other business, the board:

    • Approved one resignation, three lane changes, and the hiring of four staff members.

    • Received a $20,000 grant from the Blandin Foundation for after school programming.

    • Approved the maximum levy certification for 2018. 

    • Set the Truth In Taxation meeting date for Dec. 20.

N-K School Board

August 24, 2017

    At the Aug. 16 meeting of the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board, High School Principal Derek Gabardi noted that officials were busily preparing for the first day of school. Classroom construction is almost complete and construction on the parking lot is underway at the elementary school. He applauded the efforts of the custodial staff in particular.

    Gabardi also said the district was preparing to distribute iPads to support the one-to-one initiative at the 7th and 8th grade levels. The devices will remain at the school until all agreements with students/parents have been signed. 

    Board Director Barb Kalmi asked if the students receiving iPads would keep them throughout their academic careers. Gabardi responded that the devices would have bar codes which would be used to collect the units at the end of the year. Gabardi indicated that he expected some hiccups in the one-to-one initiative but that the district had done its due diligence in researching the issue with other districts and was well positioned to address any irregularities.

    There will be an open house at the high school on Wednesday, Aug. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. Gabardi said that the school would be hosting a mandatory parent/student meeting at 6 p.m. to discuss the one-to-one initiative with the 7th and 8th grade students/parents. An open house at the Keewatin elementary school will be held on the same day from 4 to 6 p.m.

    Interim Superintendent Matt Grose said that the District is continuing to collect input from the community regarding facilities through its Facebook page, Twitter account and web site survey. Grose said that he had recently met with Nashwauk mayor Ben DeNucci to discuss the matter as well. The district is continuing to explore opportunities for collaborations both internally and externally. Grose indicated that collaborations with government agencies also were possible.

    Negotiations with various entities were continuing, said the superintendent, although details were not disclosed. 

    Grose said that the “No Child Left Behind” program has been replaced by the “Every Student Succeeds,” a federally mandated curriculum. The new program offers the district additional flexibility but has more reporting requirements and more notifications. In particular, Grose noted that some of the notification requirements to parents could put the district in a “tricky spot.” Compliance is getting harder because the list of requirements is growing longer, he said.

    In other business, the board:

    • Approved the N-K High School student handbook.

    • Approved the elementary school handbook.

    • Approved the FY 18 Invest Early contract for programming at a cost of $62,507.

    • Approved a mental health contract with Children’s Mental Health for Early Childhood Mental Health Services.

    • Approved a mental health contract with NorthHomes, Inc. for K-12 mental health services.

    • Approved the district’s wellness policy.

N-K School Board

July 27, 2017

    The Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 19. Superintendent Matt Grose reported that the firm auditing the district has done some preliminary work and found that some irregularities had been cleaned up. 

    Grose said that the audit would not be finalized until October. He added that it would take one or two audit cycles to “get things where we want them to be.”

    Meetings to gather public input about a proposed community center were beginning to take shape, Grose reported. He said that he would report back to board as additional meetings materialized.

    After voting on 16 individual hires, Board Chair Lisa Peratalo speculated if it might be more efficient to handle routine matters on the consent agenda. Grose said that matters such as hiring and contract renewals could be handled under the consent agenda and that he would arrange to have some of those items placed on the consent agenda for the next meeting.

    In other business, the board:

    • Approved the hire of four teachers, five support staff and one coach

    • Approved a contract with Vended Meals with IASC/Invest Early at a rate of al $1.89 per breakfast meal and $2.89 for lunch.

    • Approved the band trip to Wisconsin Dells.

    • Approved the POS agreement for Speech Services with ISD 316 at a cost of $18,073.19

    • Awarded a contract in the amount of $243,000 to Gugollis, the low bidder, for resurfacing the parking lot. 

N-K School Board mulls community center project

June 29, 2017

    At last week’s meeting of the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board, Laura Connelly, a consultant with Untapped Inc. was on hand to explain what her organization could offer to move a planned community center forward. 

    Connelly said that she had spoken with the city and that the city council would like to get community input on the proposed facility. Connelly said that one idea put forth was to create focus groups, compile information from the focus group meetings, and provide the findings to stake holders. The school board would collaborate with the city in this scenario. Superintendent Matt Grose said that while he is open to collaboration, he has to consider the wider district. “We need to make sure that we’re getting information from Keewatin and our larger community,” said Grose.

    Board Director Barb Kalmi asked if Connelly had a timeline in mind. Connelly responded that would be up to the board and the city. 

    Connelly added that the costs to facilitate the forums could be split between the City and the School Board. Kalmi indicated that she was supportive of gathering information from the public. 

    Superintendent Grose also framed the community center in the larger context of the district’s facility needs. He said that information gathering could be done in conjunction with the wider needs of the district or independent of those needs, and left the door open for other configurations.

    At the conclusion of Connelly’s presentation the consensus was that the board and Grose would meet with the focus groups. The board encouraged the superintendent to continue dialog with all interested parties.

    In other district news, the board:

    • Approved the hiring of three teachers, four coaches and six support staff.

    • Approved leaves of absence for Roberta Smith, Tiffany Bodin and Michele Carrigan.

    • Approved a contract with IEA Inc. to assist the District with the management of its environmental, health and safety program in the amount of $7200 for FY 2017-2018, 7380 for FY 2018-2019 and 7560 for FY 2019-2020.

    • Approved a Professional Services agreement with Greenway to provide Speech services in the amount of $12,892 for 2017/2018.

    • Approved a Professional Services agreement for 2017-2018 Telepresence classes with Hill City with Hill City to receive $44,688.01 in semi-annual installments

    • Approved the Issuance of $475,000.00 in tax abatement bonds to Grand Timber Bank of McGregor, Minnesota.

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