LF School Board votes to be paid for three-hour meetings

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Little Falls School Board voted 3 – 2 to increase its compensation to include meetings less than six hours. This increase in pay will commence July 1, the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

Board Member Brad Laager said he would like to see remuneration of $50 for meetings lasting between three and six hours. This would be in addition to the current amount of $100 for meetings six or more hours.

Newly-elected Board Chair Sharon Ballou said she has spoken with several people who were interested in being on the Little Falls School Board but felt there were too many meetings which were not compensated.

Board members are required to sit on several committees which include finance and facility, personnel, policies and transportation. Relations committees include employee wage negotiations and work agreements. Other committees include Chamber of Commerce Education, Continuing Education, Health and Hospitalization, legislative, Flyer Athletics, Minneosta State High Scholl League and more.

“Some people need to pay day care, or they must take time off from work without pay to attend these meetings,” she said. “This can be a hardship for some.”

Newly-instated Board Member Mike LeMieur and Board Member Mark Gerbi voted against the measure.

“I voted against the additional money because it wasn’t budgeted for, first of all. Also, the amount this is going to cost the district wasn’t known,” said LeMieur. “I feel this is a community service job and what we receive is enough.”

Gerbi also said he feels the Board is adequately compensated already.

“By not taking the extra pay, we are setting an example for others,” he said. “I’m not used to getting paid at all for volunteer work. The little we get for meetings is fine for me.”

Other board member remuneration includes $300 per month stipend with a one-time $300 annual stipend for the board chair, a $50,000 term life insurance policy and compensation for mileage and other travel costs with a cap of $2,500 per board member.

Little Falls School Board briefs

Other business conducted by the Little Falls School Board night included:

• Administering the oath of office to newly-elected board members Cathy Adamek, Mike LeMieur and Jay Spillum;

• Tabling committee assignments until the Jan. 21 meeting;

• Accepting the enrollment projections from early childhood to 12th grade for the 2013-14 school year to be 2,441 students;

• Accepting the 2013-14 budget assumptions of no increase in state aid; increase of 1 percent for labor contracts, not including to steps and lanes; and a 0 percent increase for the cost of utilities; and

• Authorizing Supt. Stephen Jones to identify and recommend the elimination, reduction or modification to district services, staff, positions, programs and other areas for the 2013-14 school year as needed;

• Learning a Little Falls team will participate in its first Robotics competition, with Mike Huck as the team’s adviser. The students have six weeks to build a robot that will be able to throw a frisbee into several different targets. The program will have three partnerships within the community, to be named at a later date;

• Accepting donations from the Pentair Foundation ($6,500) for the Robotics Competition regional event; Atomic Learning ($250) for literacy projects at the high school; and Pine Country Bank ($1,000) for the boys and girls basketball teams; and

• Designating the Morrison County Record as the official newspaper.

The next School Board meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center Monday, Jan. 21, beginning at 5 p.m.