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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
August 1, 2013     Tri-County News
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August 1, 2013

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00-rs00a00,August 1, Le00als g Government Tri-Coun00 News ? IIIIIIII111 1111 IH' IIHIHIrHI[[I[I I Kimball schools to add third Kindergarten section By Jean Doran Matua, editor The Kimball school board and administration has been watching anxiously the anticipated count for kindergarteners in the 2013- 14 school year. The July 17 meet- ing of the school board was a crit- ical time to make a decision. With the number teetering at 54 (51 for all-day every-day kindergarten and 3 for part-time), a decision would have to be made whether to add a third section. Time would be needed to set everything up, and a decision at the next meeting Aug. 21 would be too late. Although Kimball Elementary principal Jim Houseman was not at the meet- ing, the board decided July 17 to add a third section. There will now be three classes of kindergarten at Kimball, each with about 18 stu- dents (instead of two classes with 27 wriggling 5-year-olds). The new kindergarten teacher will be hired as a long-term substitute, convert- ing to a contract. This coming year's third-grade class is anticipated to have 56 stu- dents: 28 in each of two classes. Taking into consideration the dis- trict's finances, and the different needs of the two age groups, the board decided to invest in a third kindergarten section at this time. There are other ways to augment third-grade learning that have been successful in the past, such as having separate sections (with smaller numbers of students) for basics like math and reading. These can be added at any time during the school year, as needed. Baseball parking Kimball police chief Jim Frilstad addressed the board about parking issues along Hazel Ave. next to the baseball fielOs (just south of Highway 55). There are "no parking" signs posted by the city on both sides of the street, there is parking across the street and behind the football field, and yet every time there's a game doz- ens of cars park on the street and in the ditch. Frilstad admitted he's been lenient on enforcement, but enforcing the city's ordinances (including no parking along Hazel Ave. there) is his job. He and his officers will now cite anyone parked there. It's a safety issue, not poli- tics. When cars are parked along Hazel Ave. next to the fields, nei- ther school buses nor fire trucks can make it through safely. Chil- dren play around the cars and often dart into traffic where driv- ers can't see them until it's too late. Sitting on the road isn't any safer, and yet people do it all the time. One option would be to close the road to all traffic and only use it for parking. Notifying emer- gency personnel would be prob- lematic, and it would be costly putting up and taking down signs (and enforcing them). Lowering the speed limit to 20 won't help much either. The board decided to proceed with plans to eliminate the far- end baseball field and turn it into a parking lot. This year's season is now over, but it will be ready for next year. They must work with the city and the city's engi- neer to make sure everything is planned and executed properly. An approach will be built into the parking area, far enough from Highway 55 to not create back- ups. Some fencing will need to be moved or removed. Because it's under 1 acre of land, they won't need the more extensive permit- ting and MPCA approval. Board member Troy Hilsgen estimated a materials cost of $5,930 to convert the field to a parking lot, with Hils- gen and others doing some of the labor themselves. Robotics Some members of the board met with Aaron Barker at St. Cloud Technical College about starting a robotics program at Kimball Area High School. In order to get a free robotics kit (valued at $1,800), the Kimball team would have to participate in at least one scrimmage during the year. (These are held at Thief River Falls, Albert Lea, and St. Cloud.) Barker offers weekly drop-in meetings on Saturdays at the col- lege for anyone involved in the program. He also recommends that teams be limited to 4-7 mem- bers, with additional individuals doing lots of support work that will be needed. Parent concern Micah Myers addressed the board about his concerns about school funding. He's not seeing the promised benefits of the last refer- endum that passed, and he won- ders what be can do to help bridge the funding gap between metro and rural schools. Getting involved is going to make the difference, he believes, and he invited the board to con- tact him individually with ways that he can get a parents' group together, for instance. "We're all in this together," Myers said. Kimball Days Kimball Schools will be repre- sented in the Kimball Days parade Sunday, Aug. 11. Stearns County passes wheelage tax At its July 30 meeting, Stearns County's Board of Commission- ers adopted a wheelage tax to pay for road construction projects. A wheelage tax is a $10 per vehicle surcharge added to car tab pur- chases, with some vehicles being exempt such as motorcycles, recre- ational trailers, classic vehicles, or trailers. The new tax will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, and the vote to adopt it was unanimous. Benton and Sher- bume counties have already voted to adopt it. Stearns County considered this option as it struggles to keep up with road maintenance. The tax will fill gaps in road funding when other current revenue sources, state and federal aid are not expected to sig- nificantly increase in the future. The State Legislature this spring enacted laws that allow outstate Minnesota counties to issue a wheelage tax. Metro counties have had the option to levy the wheelage tax since 2007. Bus contract The schools are required to advertise for quotations on bus routes, but not required to take the lowest quotation. Voigt Bus submitted a quote that was lower than Hendricks Bus quote. Based on the long-standing relationship with the local vendor (Hendricks), the district signed a contract with Hendricks. Other business In other business, the board: designated Tri-County News as its official publication; designated Harvest Bank (and several others) as official depositories; designated Page 15 It is estimated the tax could generate an additional $1.5 mil- lion a year in Steams County. Law requires all dollars go directly to building roads and bridges. For Stearns County's road construction program, it could result in an average of three additional road projects a year, with as many as seven additional proj- ects in 2017. For the tax to be implemented by 2014, Stearns County must notify the Minnesota Depart- ment of Public Safety by Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013. Commissioners have discussed the issue at June and July meetings, and voted to adopt it at the July 30 meeting. Citizen feedback was sparse, and nearly evenly split with 19 for it and 18 against. The state legislature also extended the option for greater Minnesota corm- ties to enact a transportation tax of up to half percent It is unlikely Steams Cotmty would pursue this source of revenue. district legal counsel as Rupp, Anderson, Squire and Waltzberger PA; renewed membership in the MSHSL (state high school league) with Tim Zipoy as district repre- sentative and Bruce Holmseth as sports and activities representa- tive; approve fall coaches (Foot- ball: Jamie Leither head, Lloyd Danzieson asst., Nate Osmundson IV, Sam Rossman 9th, Paul Sundin 8th, Steve Rowland 7th; Volleyball: Scott Heinen head, Whitney Get- tier asst., Katie Pettit 9th, Eric Pri- mus 8th, Laura Frank 7th; Cross Country: Holly Hanson head, Terry Nelson asst.). List your garage (At $6 per ad es 6 weeks, that's $36 - the same cost as a regular, in-state subscription for a yead. That might just be wo buying a subscription[ "t'4o business or commerciat ads, please. 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