10/17/2013 11:04:00 AM School board approves purchase of replacement engine
by Nora Bryson
The Cannon Falls School Board approved the purchase of a replacement bus engine, the mandatory, annual Assurance of Compliance Report for the state, and general manager Josh Davisson's leave of absence at their Monday night, October 14 meeting. The snow removal quotes were rejected and reposted while the Elementary PA system was forwarded to the October 28 agenda. State Senator Matt Schmit was guest presenter.
Board Member Rob Siebenaler of the Transportation Committee and Andy Sandstrom of Sandstrom's Bus Repair recommended that the district keep Bus #25 that blew its engine three weeks ago. It just had $5,800 of body work done to pass inspection and is one of the lower mileage buses in the fleet. Sandstrom has sourced an engine with a 3-year warranty for $14,000. Installation won't cost anything as it is part of his contract with the district. He felt the bus would last another three to five years. The board approved the purchase of the engine.
The two went on to explain why the district needs to consider purchasing another bus in the near future. The two new buses the district purchased last Spring are not due to be delivered until late November and they will merely be replacing buses #14 (a 2001 with 82,000 miles) and #17 (a 1996 with 200,000), leaving the district with zero spares. The district is currently leasing, with the option to own, bus #33 (a 2001 stick shift with 111,000 miles) for $5,000 while #25 is out. Unfortunately, only three of the district's drivers can drive a stick shift.
The district can either purchase #33 for another $5,000 to boot or trade in #33 with the $5,000 going toward the purchase of a new bus. The Transportation Committee will come back to the board with a recommendation in December or January as it takes six to nine months to take delivery if a new bus is purchased.
Superintendent Beth Giese pointed out that the district would also need to purchase a new van before the start of the 2014 school year. State regulations require Van #503 (a 2003 with 167,000 miles) be taken out of service.
The board approved general manager Josh Davisson's leave of absence request. In anticipation of the birth of their first child, Davisson will utilize his eight weeks of vacation but will continue to coach.
Siebenaler and Head of Operations and Maintenance Dave Davisson explained how, in an effort to decrease confusion as to when to or NOT to plow, they rewrote the snow removal quotes for a "zero tolerance." The result were quotes almost double of last year's snow removal bill of $39,400. The two suggested the board reject the quotes, the specs revert back to the 2-inch "trigger point," and the bus garage be taken out of the square-footage covered. Board Member Jerry Reinardy requested that an equipment list be included in the quotes. The board concurred, pulled the quotes and promised to have new bids out by midnight.
State Senator Matt Schmit recapped the legislative session stating he was "thrilled" with the outcome. Schmit, a lifelong Red Wing resident and son of two teachers, was especially pleased with what was accomplished for education. He was concerned that the legislature still doesn't take inflation into account when budgeting and was frustrated that there was no tax reform. He felt the next session would be short with the two major items being the $850 million bonding bill and the need for more transportation funding.
Giese and Board Chair Bob Brintnall thanked Schmit for his efforts, but asked that he do something to make the education funding formula more fair.
High School Principal Tim Hodges reported that he was looking into a technology plan that would allow for "a device for every student." He and Guidance Counselor Kirsten Hoffman attended a seminar on the new "Ramp Up To Readiness" (a post-secondary life-skills program-also known as 13th grade) mandated by the Legislature and accredited through the University of Minnesota. He hopes to get Cannon Falls accredited as a provider in the next year.
The principals had recently reviewed and updated the schools' lockdown procedures allowing for both a "hard" (everything stops) and a "soft" (lessons continue) lockdown. Hodges reported that on October 23, Aaron Thomas, the activities director from Parkersburg, Iowa, whose football coaching father was shot and killed by one of his own players, will speak at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the High School Auditorium. The first 6-12 grade band and choir concert will be Friday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.
The next meeting will be Monday, Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. Agenda items include: Elementary PA System. Scheduled presenter will be Rick Lee regarding the district's technology program.