In this article, we will be discussing the recent School Board Meeting held by the Chisago Lakes School District. The meeting took place on June 22, 2023, and covered various topics and concerns related to the school district. One of the major concerns raised during the meeting was about Chisago County property taxes. In this article, we will delve into the details of the meeting and the issues expressed by community members regarding their property taxes. We will also provide insights into the steps taken by the school district to address these concerns.
Acknowledgment of Service and Gratitude
Before diving into the main topics, the meeting began with a tribute to Brenda and Dean, who have served the Chisago Lakes School District for several years. The attendees expressed their gratitude to Brenda and Dean for their dedication and hard work during challenging times, including the pandemic, building projects, and staffing shortages. The school district’s leadership commended them for their passion and commitment to providing quality education.
A Plea for Retro Pay
During the open forum session, Kim Lafave, a paraeducator at the middle school, addressed the school board with a personal concern. Kim claimed that she had been denied the retro pay she had earned. Kim explained that she had taken an extended vacation with proper notification and was told that her leave would be accepted if a long-term substitute could be found. However, despite the school district posting the position, no applicants were found. Kim decided to resign and then reapply upon her return. She worked until her leave and resumed her duties once she came back. However, when retro pay was distributed to active employees, Kim was informed that she would not be receiving it because she was considered an inactive employee at the time of ratification of the contract. Kim expressed her disappointment and requested fairness, as she had been a loyal employee for ten years. She emphasized that denying her retro pay made her feel undervalued and unappreciated by the school district. Kim’s plea for fair treatment resonated strongly with those in attendance, as she had invested not only in her own position but also in the district through her family and grandchildren.
The School Board’s Response and Commitment
The school board assured Kim that her concerns would be addressed. They acknowledged the uniqueness of her situation and promised to consult with HR before providing a response. Kim was assured that she would receive an update by the end of the following week. The school board recognized the importance of acknowledging the hard work and dedication of their employees and affirmed their commitment to addressing Kim’s concerns promptly.
Updates on Financial and Enrollment Matters
Following the open forum and personal concerns, the meeting moved on to financial and enrollment updates. The Director of Business Services provided a brief overview of the district’s financial standing. Revenue and expenditures were reported to be on track and aligned with budget expectations. In the Food Service department, revenue and expenditures were also reported to be in line with expectations. Community service revenue exceeded expectations, indicating positive growth. Debt service remained unchanged, as the district continued to pay off its debt obligations.
In terms of enrollment, the district reported a slight decrease compared to their target number. This decrease occurred throughout the year, affecting the overall enrollment figures. The board acknowledged that enrollment can fluctuate, and adjustments are made accordingly to maintain budgetary balance.
Strategic Planning and Communication Efforts
The meeting then transitioned to discussions on the school district’s strategic plan, specifically focusing on communication efforts. Michelle, a representative from the school district, presented the goals and strategies implemented to enhance stakeholder engagement. The primary goal was to implement a communication plan that would effectively engage parents and other stakeholders. To achieve this, the district conducted family entry and exit surveys to gather feedback on their experiences. However, the response rate to the surveys was disappointingly low. The district acknowledged the need to explore alternative methods for engaging parents and gathering feedback.
Additionally, the district launched a new website to improve communication with the community. The website had been in development, and its official launch was announced during the meeting. The website’s purpose was to provide detailed information about the district’s programs, initiatives, and events.
In conclusion, the Chisago Lakes School District’s School Board Meeting addressed various topics, including concerns raised about Chisago County property taxes. Kim Lafave’s plea for retro pay highlighted a need for fair treatment and appreciation for the efforts of long-time employees. The school board responded positively to Kim’s concerns, promising to review her case and provide a timely response. The financial and enrollment updates indicated stable fiscal management and fluctuations in student enrollment. The meeting also emphasized the importance of effective communication channels, with new initiatives and strategies being implemented, such as the launch of a new website. As the school district continues to address the concerns and needs of its stakeholders, it aims to foster a positive and engaging environment for all involved.