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USC has eight long-time staff ready to retire

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Apr 25, 2021

During a typical United South Central School Board meeting, personnel changes such as retirements, resignations and hirings are handled as part of the consent agenda.

However, at the board’s regular meeting last Tuesday, April 20, board chairman Dale Stevermer handled the personnel changes in a different manner.

“We have eight staff members retiring this year,” Stevermer noted. “The combined years of service to the district of these eight people is 231 years which is an average of 28.88 years per person. I want to thank them for their dedication to our district.”

The eight retiring include Marla Froehlke, food service; Stud Hendrickson, elementary teacher; Beth Jacobson, ELL teacher; Carol Light, elementary teacher; Dawn Marks, paraprofessional; Jon Melby, elementary teacher; Pam Melby, food service director; and Rita Vondracek, director of technology and integrations.

The board also accepted the resignations of elementary principal Nick Jurrens, effective June 30, and social studies teacher Ryan Koopman, effective at the end of the current school year.

Superintendent Keith Fleming reported both the House and Senate have published their education spending plans.

“They are miles apart,” Fleming said. “Things probably will not be settled until there is a special session in June. It is hard to budget when we do not know what we will have to work with.”

High school principal Julie Stauber was at the meeting and reported the enrollment at the high school had increased by two students and was now at 323.

“We had the ACT tests on March 30 and have been working on registering students and setting their schedules for the school year,” she commented. “Prom will be held on May 22 and graduation will be held on June 6, at 2 p.m.”

Jurrens also gave a report and mentioned some kids were not able to take the ACT test on March 30 due to COVID.

“We had a makeup test day on April 13 and every student who had signed up to take the test was able to do so,” Jurrens said.

He also gave an update on kindergarten roundup.

“We did it through video and we sent packets to the kids,” Jurrens explained. “We hope to get the students to come to the school in August for an in-person experience.”

Jurrens also noted there are 16 students who have made the choice to utilize distance learning and not attend school in person.

“On the enrollment front, we stayed steady at 357 students in grades K-6, the same as I reported at the last meeting,” he said.

The board also approved the 2021-22 capital outlay budget.

“We added three items since we last looked at this,” Fleming noted. “There is an addition of $5,171 to replace heaters in the van garage. We also need to redo the pole vault pit and that was an addition of $15,000. Finally, instead of leasing a work vehicle for $1,800 every year, we have decided to purchase one. Kubota has the low bid at $9,950.”

Band and music instructor Bjorn Hagen was also at the meeting to review the itinerary for a proposed band and choir trip to Chicago in November.

“We would leave on Nov. 18 and return on Nov. 21,” Hagen explained.

The board approved the trip. Board member Tom Legred asked Hagen if the marching band would be able to perform at parades this summer.

“Under the current guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health, the answer is no, we cannot perform at parades,” Hagen replied.

The board also:

• Voted to begin posting for the positions of elementary principal and a director of information and technology.

• Approved changing the district employee group health insurance policy carrier to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota.