Most of Southwest Middle School to get new roof

Published 8:41 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Two-thirds of Southwest Middle School will get a new roof after approval from the Albert Lea school board Monday night.

Director of Facilities Steve Anderson said bids went out for the project Dec. 19 and came back in a little higher than budgeted.

Anderson said after doing some value engineering with low bidder Schwickert’s of Mankato, they were able to get the bid down $100,000 to get the project back within the budgeted amount.

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The project was ultimately approved for about $1.23 million.

The roof will be worked on this summer and completed by the start of school in the fall.

In other action, the board:

• Approved preliminary plans for the Albert Lea High School choir trip for June 2021 to Germany and Austria.

Cost will be $3,500 for 12 days and will be open to students in ninth through 12th grades in choir. There will be opportunities for the choir to perform on the trip.

Choir Director Diane Heaney said there will be multiple fundraisers planned for students who plan to attend.

• Approved polling places for purposes of school district elections not held on the day of a statewide election. The polling location for residents living within the 2nd Ward of Albert Lea changed to First Lutheran Church.

• Heard an update from Superintendent Mike Funk about the upcoming legislative session.

Funk said it is unlikely the Legislature will make adjustments to the general education funding formula this year.

Some of the priorities he has heard include mental health, expansion of full-service schools, early childhood education, English language learner funding, statewide pre-screening assessments and career and technical education pathways.

Funk said he was one of three superintendents selected to represent Minnesota superintendents at the end of February in Washington, D.C., and to advocate for education issues for the state.

• Approved an updated policy regarding student activity accounting.

District Finance Director Jennifer Walsh said the board last June approved a resolution based on the Government Accounting Standards Board requiring all student activity funds to fall under board control. That resolution went into effect in July.

• Approved property tax abatement for Gary and Sandra Thompson for a new home being built on Hale Drive.

• Heard updates from board members regarding the Minnesota School Boards Association conference last week.

Board members attended various sessions during the conference on topics including the Minnesota State High School League, the Minnesota Student Survey, teacher turnover, vaping, school community conflict, superintendent relations and others.