Student Resource Officer is approved by board

Monticello School Board Secretary Judy Hayen swears in School Board President Bud Johnson during the Sept. 25 school board meeting. Johnson was unanimously voted in as president. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

New School Board Vice President John Schlarmann takes the Oath of Office from President Bud Johnson. Schlarmann was voted in 3-2.
School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     The hiring of a Student Resource Officer (SRO) was quickly and unanimously approved by the Monticello School Board as part of its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 25.

     The meeting was moved to Tuesday rather than the usual fourth-Monday-of-the-month slot because of Homecoming festivities the previous evening.

     The SRO, who will be Dawn Graver, will provide a police presence in the school buildings throughout the school year. Graver’s schedule will vary, will be rotated around the four district school buildings, and will include extra-curricular activities on an as-needed basis. Such unpredictability will add to the safety of students and staff, according to Monticello Police Chief Britt Smith.

     Graver, who will be relieved of her sergeant responsibilities, will begin her new position in early October.

     Smith said there is much more to the position than just having an officer visit the buildings.

     “We can preach about the benefits security-wise, but the educational opportunities, the opportunities to engage with the youth and create a better working relationship; there are so many benefits that we can see throughout the year,” Smith said.

     The SRO’s salary for a full year will be $68,396.61. Through a 28E agreement with the City of Monticello, the school district will pay 60 percent of that, or $41,036.17. This school year’s amount will be lower since the school year is already a month and a half old.

     On hand at the meeting were Monticello Mayor Brian Wolken, along with Smith. Wolken was asked about the city council’s opinion on the matter.

     “It’s been pretty much unanimous in support of it, in every conversation we’ve had,” Wolken said. “I haven’t heard any negatives. Its’ a great opportunity for us to expand the department a little bit.”

     Discussion about adding an SRO began in the spring.

In other district business:

     • District business manager Marcy Gillmore gave her annual treasurer’s report to the district during the meeting.

     Gillmore said the district’s unspent budget ratio, which she called the “key measure of a healthy school district,” is at 12.7 percent, up from 9 percent a year ago. The ratio is the percentage of remaining spending authority at the end of a fiscal year. The ideal range for the ratio is from 5 to 15 percent.

     The district also has a solvency ratio – the percent of unobligated funds – of 22.5 percent, up from 19.1 percent. Again, ideal is 5 to 15 percent, and the state’s recommendation is not to exceed 25 percent.

     Its annual unspent spending authority is at 4.3 percent – zero is ideal.

     • Superintendent Brian Jaeger gave a report on the status of the high school softball fields. The district is hoping to use them for one more season, to allow time for a new varsity field to take the place of the southwest diamond at the Monticello Athletic Complex, and for a new youth diamond to be constructed on the Shannon School site.

     Construction for the new middle school – scheduled to begin in the spring – could interfere with that.

     • The board approved the abstract of the 2018 school election. There were 2,019 votes cast. The bond issue passed by a 70.93 percent approval rating.

     • The board held elections of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

     Bud Johnson was unanimously elected president. John Schlarmann was elected vice president by a vote of 3-2. Judy Hayen and Marcy Gillmore will continue to serve as secretary and treasurer respectively.

     • The board scheduled a special work session on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m.

     • The board approved the Special Education Allowable Growth request in the amount of $245,089.26.

     • The board received one bid for the FFA fruit fundraiser from MinnTex Citrus of Monticello. The board awarded the bid, with board member Bud Johnson abstaining.

     • The board approved the first reading of Board Policy #1005.5 Memorials and Special Recognition.

     Changes to the policy include the following statements: “The board will give consideration to items of larger value and consider each on a case by case basis and will strive for a unanimous consensus on these items.” “Dedication and naming of permanent structures, or parts thereof, or property upon which they exist, to recognize any individual or groups or dedicated to the memory of any individual or group, must receive unanimous approval of the board.”

     “We need to strive to be unanimous,” commented Johnson. “That should be our goal, and I appreciate that being in there.”

     “It looks better if the majority decision is unanimous,” added Melchert.

     • The board approved an open enrollment request for a home-schooled student.

     Jaeger said if a student could benefit from an educational program through another school district that the MCSD does not offer, an open-enrollment request should be granted. In this case, the student is open enrolling with the Marion School District because the MCSD does not offer a home-schooling assistance program.

     • The board approved the Consent Agenda. Items of note include:

     The resignations of Lisa Hayen as a custodian, Jill Iben as a food service employee, and Josh Soper as varsity baseball coach.

     The appointments of Lynette Boheman as volunteer middle school volleyball coach, and Tonya James as food service employee.

     (Editor Kim Brooks also contributed to this article.)



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