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School board approves superintendent contract for 2018

ISD 166 campus
ISD 166 campus

The ISD 166 school board met November 16 and tackled a very long agenda.

Three citizens spoke during public comments to encourage the school district to continue to look at its policies to find ways to eliminate bullying and racial harassment.

Later in the meeting, the board distributed a handout with answers to questions asked at the last board meeting. To see the School District 166 answers to questions raised by member of Arrowhead Indivisible, click here.
The school board meeting itself started off on a high note, with the recognition of two of the school’s very successful sports teams. Members of the CCHS volleyball team and cross country running team came in to answer a few questions and to receive a round of applause from the school board and those in attendance at the meeting.
The board heard from Ryan Erspamer of Architectural Resources, Inc., the firm that is overseeing bond projects such as the bus garage and re-roofing of the Middle School area. The school won’t complete the final “punch list” until spring as there are a few things that can’t be finished now because of the weather.

The school is also working with Architectural Resources on plans for the renovation of the science lab and culinary arts area. Science lab plans are complete and the culinary arts area is nearly finished. Anyone interested in looking at the plans can request to see them in the high school office.
The board reviewed the middle school/high school discipline policy, line-by-line, talking about in school suspension (ISS), exclusion and expulsion.

The board agreed the discipline policy could possibly need revision and asked Superintendent Bill Crandall to reach out to other schools to look at their policies. The board will continue the discussion at the December school board meeting.
The board discussed the contract for Superintendent Crandall, which is a shared position with the Lake County School District. Board members asked if being at School District 166 part-time has been working. Crandall said he believed so, noting that he tries to be available by phone and email whenever he is needed.

The school board asked staff members at the meeting if they felt the shared superintendent system is working well. Finance Director Lori Backlund, District Office Assistant Pam Puskala, and Maintenance Director Tom Nelson all said things have been working well.

After a bit of discussion about how the superintendent salary of $56,464 fits into the budget, a unanimous motion passed to approve the new contract for 2018.
There was an update on the replacement of Board Member Jeanne Anderson, who represented District 5, the west end of the county and who resigned last month. It was agreed to keep the posting open until December 1.

Board members were pleased to receive one application so far, from Dan Shirley, of Sawbill Outfitters in Tofte.
The board addressed a number of personnel matters. Because the early childhood family education (ECFE) program has grown, an additional teacher is needed to work with current ECFE teacher Brooke Youngdahl. Judy Schmidt was hired for this position.

Two paraprofessionals were hired, Erin Petz and Ashley Deschampe. Both are highly qualified and are former Cook County Schools students. Deschampe will be working at Grand Portage Headstart.

Superintendent Crandall said a committee of staff and board members recommend hiring Mitch Dorr as activities director to replace Pam Taylor. The full board accepted the recommendation. Dorr will work with Taylor for the rest of the year to learn what is expected of the activities director.

The board noted a letter from math teacher Rachel Sjodin, who resigned due to health reasons. He said there is currently a substitute teacher with an “expert license” filling the math teacher duties. The board passed a motion to post the job to find a permanent math teacher.

The final personnel decision was approval of the hiring of an evening custodian, Rollin Baird. Crandall commended his administrative staff who stepped up and did cleaning themselves during the staffing shortage.