3/28/2014 2:19:00 PM School board hears of 121-house project
by Nora Bryson
Cannon Falls School Board Chair Bob Brintnall invited fellow Board members and the gallery to join in saying the Pledge of Allegiance as they felt comfortable to open the March 24 meeting. Superintendent Beth Giese thanked Student Representative Ryan Foster and the Student Council for initiating the procedural change.
During their hour and 10 minute meeting the board heard a presentation about a 121-house development planned just south across Highway 19 from the main campus, approved the 2014-15 Activities Handbook including a brief discussion about 6th-graders on Junior High teams, took action on four personnel items, was informed the district might be changing from Coca Cola to Pepsi, and received High School Principal Tim Hodges' report on the Job Fair orchestrated by Stephanie Fox, Josh Davisson's Finance Report, and Foster's report on student activities.
City of Cannon Falls Director of Economic Development and Planning, Dave Maroney, distributed copies of the approved preliminary plat for Mulvihill Properties, a "phased" development of 121 single-family homes that will sit on 50 acres just south of Highway 19, across from the school and west of Hardwood Way. He said he wanted to make the district aware of the development so they could have input into the project as it moves forward.
According to Maroney, the plat includes lots varying from 55 to 75 feet of frontage plus a 1 ¼ acre park (although, the city would accept a cash payment in lieu of land). The phase-in will start with just six lots east of 72nd Ave. Way and will most likely continue as driven by market demand. He noted several traffic flow changes that could occur around Hardwood Way with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) having the largest and final say. Pedestrian walkways throughout the development will follow city code, but nothing has been decided in terms of a student over/under-pass across Hwy 19.
Giese was glad of the prospects to increase student enrollment numbers. Nodding in reference to Elementary Principle Derek Bell, she said they would appreciate it if the traffic changes will allow Hardwood Way (north of Hwy 19 and east St. Ansgar's Church) to be used, someday, for school buses and as an alternate exit. In regard to students crossing Hwy 19, Giese stated that the district would be responsible for providing transportation.
Board member Rob Siebenaler expressed concern over the amount of water that comes through the tile and into the storm pond, recognizing that kids sometimes chose to walk even when transportation is provided.
Maroney suggested Giese speak with Goodhue County Engineer Greg Isakson and MnDOT officials.
Brintnall pointed out that the development was being re-zoned as an R-2, which would allow for multi-family or twin homes. Maroney conceded that was true, but insisted that the plat was approved on the basis of only having 100%, single-family homes. He told them not to hesitate to call with input or questions.
The Board approved the 2014-15 Activities Handbook. The update contained only minimal changes: Elementary sports were eliminated (having been given to the local Youth Athletic Associations or Community Education and run by parent volunteers), the paragraph stating that only one fundraiser could be conducted at a time was eliminated since it was no longer being enforced (nor could it, given the times), and fair allotment of "play time" was further defined ("quality" development time, per game, as opposed to the last few seconds of each game or once a season is already considered "lost").
In four separate agenda items, the board approved the posting and hiring of a Secondary Social Studies Teacher for 2014-15 to try and fill the vacancy left by Tony Meyer's recent retirement, approved continuing the shared Elementary teaching position of Lori Jackson and Sue Samuelson for 2014-15 (as it is reviewed annually), approved the update to Dave Davisson's Director of Operations and Maintenance Job Description, and disapproved of a further extension to an already 2+ year extended medical leave.
Giese announced that the district might be changing to Pepsi products because "it appears they really want our business." She said Pepsi was offering better incentives (usually monetary "kick-backs" but sometimes things like scoreboards, etc.) and a shorter contract.
Hodges reported on the success of the first-ever, lunch-time Jobs Fair that brought in five employers looking to hire for the summer. He thanked Stephanie Fox for not only having the idea but organizing the event. He said it was so successful there are already requests from other local employers to do it again.
Davisson's Finance report shows the district with $2 million cash on hand; that's $600,000 ahead of last year and without any Aid Anticipation Bonds. Expense questions consisted of the $20,512.25 to Hastings Chrysler Center for the new van and whether the $8,094.09 to Zippy's Landscaping & Services was in addition to the contracted snow removal payment (it is the contracted payment---if there are any extras they will be settled up at the end of the season).
Ryan Foster reported that the quarter ended last Friday and there are 67 days left in the school year. Last Saturday, Cannon Falls Speech hosted a tournament with 495 entries while baseball had their first three games. The band is in Colorado through Wednesday. On Thursday, the Student Council will host "Girl Talk" (discussing bullying vs. harassment) for the Middle School girls while the Middle School boys will speak with police officers. Track has started. Softball has been re-scheduled. Golf is still a go to start April 3. Prom is Sat., May 3.
The next board meeting will be Monday, April 14 at 6 p.m. at the High School Boardroom. Agenda items currently include: a presentation on Ramp Up To Readiness (a University of Minnesota initiative).