Spring Valley School Board outlines next capital improvements

Posted 2/15/22

By Melissa Thorud SPRING VALLEY – The Spring Valley School Board held a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 7 and discussed and approved agenda items regarding capital improvements, the district audit …

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Spring Valley School Board outlines next capital improvements


By Melissa Thorud

SPRING VALLEY – The Spring Valley School Board held a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 7 and discussed and approved agenda items regarding capital improvements, the district audit review and previewed items that will be discussed in depth at their upcoming regular board meeting later this month.

The meeting started with a presentation of the district's audit from April Anderson, the district's auditor. She presented a brief summary of some of the findings from the district’s most recent audit.

During this presentation she went over the district’s current funds and the trends in how these funds have changed compared to the last four years. She also went over some of the suggestions that came up during the audit process.

The few items that could use improvement included limited segregation of duties and material audit adjustments, which Anderson assured were common improvements for school board audits.

The presentation allowed the board members to hear how the budget and current funds are in a good position currently. Anderson said, “You definitely have a healthy fund balance in your general fund.”

After the presentation and brief discussion, the meeting moved on to recognizing a newer teacher at the high school and middle school named Jon Stimmel. Stimmel is a Technical Education Instructor and this is his first-year teaching. He previously worked within the welding trade before teaching welding in the district.

Stimmel also briefly presented a grant that was awarded to the Spring Valley School District in the amount of $10,800. The grant is from the company Donaldson and this money will go toward purchasing updated welding equipment for the students to use in class.

Stimmel said, “One thing that we lack in our shop is quality equipment and it is very outdated, so I spend a lot of my time fixing some of those machines and this money is going to go toward purchasing new welding equipment so we can focus more on teaching the students how to use the quality equipment.”

The board also discussed possible options for upcoming meeting times and whether or not they want to implement new committees. Currently the school board holds two meetings each month, a regular meeting and a special meeting. In years previous the board had committees at one point but decided to dissolve them for several reasons.

Groh brought this option up at this meeting for the board to discuss. No action was taken on this item and many board members agreed that the two meetings each month are currently working but they would consider changing this in the future. Another piece to this conversation was the possible change in meeting start times.

The meetings currently start at 7 p.m. and the board agreed that in the future an earlier start time might be more appropriate and better suit the needs of the board members.

Vice President Jennelle Wolf said, “I wouldn’t be opposed to implementing committees but it is something I think we should think about and discuss further.”

A brief recap of the state school board convention assembly was presented by board member Sandy Jacobs. A few members of the board recently traveled to a large convention for other school boards. During this assembly ten resolutions were approved by the representatives in attendance.

Jacobs said, “it was very interesting to see the democracy at work, it almost felt like a larger scale school board meeting which was very cool and I enjoyed being a part of it.”

Following that recap, Groh presented to the board an update of the 10-year capital improvement plan that has been previously approved by the board. This plan contains several improvement updates for the district and outlines the potential cost for each one.

Some of the updates that have already been completed include the update of the main office at the high/middle school, as well as other maintenance improvements around the district.

Future projects that are currently being talked about by the board as next include the expansion of the weight room at the high school/middle school, a storage shed facility and replacing all the library furniture with new furniture.

The board approved a contract with River Valley Architects to come up with an overview of a plan needed for the weight room expansion. The contract cost was approved for $4,800 and this will allow them to take the next steps in finding a contractor to complete the project.

The library furniture will also be one of the next projects to take place. Groh explained that much of the furniture in this space is almost 25 years old and is a common place for students and the community to gather. This makes it the best space to start with updating the furniture.

Groh said, “The library is a central area that the community uses for meetings, it is used for classes during school and it is an area where the furniture is older and is in need of an update, with it being used so often I think this would be a good place to start with replacing the furniture.”

After the approvals of the updates to the capital improvements projects plan, the board moved onto preview items for the upcoming meeting on Feb. 21. At that meeting the board will discuss further the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and the community input for those funds.

Groh explained that this is the third round of ESSER funds to the school and he wants to present the ideas for usage of this money to the staff and faculty as well as the community.

Another item that was briefly discussed at this meeting that will be talked about further at the regular board meeting later this month was possible changes to the calendar for the next full school year.

The board talked about potentially starting the school year earlier in the fall and ending earlier in the spring. This would be a one-year exemption and will allow for students to start school earlier in the month of August.

Groh said that this idea was presented to about 12 faculty members within the district and the consensus was unanimously in favor of this change. No action was taken on this item at this meeting but it will be presented in more detail at the regular meeting on the 22nd.

The meeting adjourned into closed session to discuss possible employment positions, then the board reconvened to open session and adjourned following.