Community discussions concerning district facilities have begun

By Tina SnellStaff Writer Little Falls Supt. Stephen Jones has scheduled several facilities meetings at the five schools in the district. He is asking residents to voice their opinions on what each building needs. The newest building in the district (the high school) is 42 years old, built in 1972. The first two meetings were held at the Little Falls Community High School and Lincoln Elementary this past week. The next three will be held Tuesday, Aug. 26, at the Little Falls Community Middle School; Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School in Randall and Thursday, Sept. 4, at Lindbergh Elementary School. All meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will begin with a PowerPoint presentation, starting the conversation. It originates from the 2008 Johnson Controls presentations to the district. “This will just be a discussion with the people of Little Falls,” said Jones at the Little Falls School Board meeting Monday. “Then everyone present will get a tour of the building.” Jones would like to send out a request for proposals for architectural services, the sooner the better. “Maybe by October we can begin to see drawings,” he said. “The windows, roofs, doors and more are not up to code.” However, Jones does not want to just replace the roofs, doors, windows, but eliminate the issues caused by them. Board Member Brad Laager said, “If you’re not going to build new, you have to take care of what you have.” Another issue Jones brought up is that Little Falls Schools are almost at capacity for students. “The schools have changed since the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s when they were built,” he said. Laager agreed, and said that when he started teaching in Little Falls, there was one room for special education. Today there are 14-15 rooms. Little Falls School Board Briefs Little Falls School Board business Tuesday night included: •Voting to hire Tanya Bridges, paraprofessional at Lindbergh Elementary School; Josh Gamage, custodian at the Little Falls Community High School; Joni Gilder-Rone, paraprofessional at Lindbergh Elementary School; Amanda Holstrom, language arts teacher at the Little Falls Community Middle School; Chad Salber, paraprofessional at Lindbergh Elementary School and Whitney Thune, second grade teacher at Lindbergh Elementary School; •Accepting the resignations of Gamage as a cleaner at Lindbergh Elementary School; and Thune as a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher at Lindbergh Elementary School; •Accepting $3,800 from Little Falls Township for the Youth Recreation Program; $175 each from Pine Country Bank and Robert LeMieur Snow Service Inc. for Community Services; U.S. and POW/MIA flags from the American Legion to the Community High School; and $500 from Melvin and Brenda VanHeel, $250 from Riitters, Thompson and Olson PA, $100 from Gregory and Gail Holtz, $250 from Adam and Heather Klever, $250 from Tim and Bridget Corbett, $25 from Larry and Cynthia Skuza, $100 from Robert Jr. and Colleen Walquist, $250 from Cecil Foote, $250 from Andrea Byers Foote and $250 from Allison Zak DC, LLC, all for the Swim Club; • Learning from Supt. Stephen Jones that the newly established registration week was a huge success with increased numbers of families participating over last year; • Hearing that the district received 78 bicycles from the city which will possibly be used for physical education opportunities; • Learning the district is harvesting lots of produce from the gardens at St. Fracis Center and that the high tunnel will soon be ready for planting; •Hearing that about 100 students have signed up for football, almost double that of several years ago; •Learning a second-chance breakfast will be served to students between first and second hour from a “Grab ‘n Go” cart with the goal of increasing breakfast opportunities; • Voting to accept the handbooks for the 2014-15 school year; •Voting to accept an increase in rates for classified substitute workers that range from $9 per hour to $18.10 per hour; • Voting to pay substitute teachers $110 per day for short-term positions, thus making Little Falls competitive with other districts; •Voting to approve updated policies for the district; •Learning the three-year contract with custodians has been agreed upon and the group will receive a 9.17 percent increase in wages and benefits; • Learning the three-year contract with cleaners and groundskeepers has been agreed upon at a 9.09 percent increase for wages and benefits; •Passing the resolution stating the district will hold an election Nov. 4 with the purpose of electing three school board members for terms of four years each. The incumbent board members up for re-election are Sharon Ballou, Mark Gerbi and Brad Laager. Each will have their name on the ballot along with Sandi Stalmer; •Learning that if there will be a candidate forum for those wanting a seat on the School Board, it will be set up by the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce; and •Setting the Truth in Taxation meeting for Monday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6 p.m. It will be held in the commissioners board room at the Morrison County Government Center. The next School Board meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center Monday, Sept. 15, beginning at 5 p.m.