Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Board to vote on allowing 2142 students to attend games at all district sites for free

Marcus White
Posted 9/13/18

REGIONAL – Students in the St. Louis County School District could have free admission to school sporting events depending on an upcoming decision by the district’s school board.

The proposal, …

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Board to vote on allowing 2142 students to attend games at all district sites for free

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REGIONAL – Students in the St. Louis County School District could have free admission to school sporting events depending on an upcoming decision by the district’s school board.

The proposal, which would allow students in the district to attend games for free district-wide, was up for discussion at the board’s Tuesday study session.

Currently students pay three dollars to watch teams play. The change would not affect out-of-district students, who would still have to pay an entrance fee.

District staff would also get into games for free, and Manick said that rule should apply to their children as well, to encourage more staff to attend games.

But Manick’s suggestion was shot down by Business Manager Kim Johnson who said “if the staff want their children to attend games for free, they can enroll their children in the district.” She added it would provide an incentive for district staff to bring their children to the district.

Manick maintained his position but did not push the issue further.

In response to a question from Chet Larson, Johnson said the financial loss to the district’s budget from the new rule would be minimal.

The plan will go to a vote when the board meets in Cherry in two weeks and if passed will be implemented immediately.

Marketing changes

The board also discussed its marketing efforts. Historically the district has had one major marketing push in the late summer utilizing both newspaper ads and movie cinema ads.

Board Member Troy Swanson said the district will now focus on smaller ads, once per quarter in area newspapers, and put money toward social media platforms, especially Facebook, to “boost” posts on district social media pages to be seen by more people in the region.

Swanson said he spends as little as three dollars on posts to increase their viewership from a few hundred to a few thousand.

Superintendent Reggie Engebritson said she felt the summer ad pushes had brought in more students than the district can handle, especially at the Cherry School, and that the push to bring more students in needs to be relaxed for now.

Swanson said he wants the individual schools to begin producing social media content, whether it is videos made by students, or updates from teachers on various classroom projects.

Board members Chris Koivisto and Christine Taylor were against the idea. “It seems unreasonable to ask people in the district to add more tasks for them to help with marketing,” Taylor said. “We should have someone, even if it is part time, to take the burden off.”

Koivisto echoed the sentiment and said the district websites weren’t kept up to date as it is and he felt it would be unreasonable to put more of a burden on the marketing volunteer system the district was using.

He added that the main source of information for the district should be from the websites and not social media. Swanson said he wanted to use social media as a gateway to the websites. Koivisto said it wouldn’t be enough, and that in his experience working at Vermilion Community College, people were making the switch back to websites to obtain the majority of information they needed on programs and events.

A vote on the issue will likely come up at the next meeting.

District interviews

Engebritson raised the question of whether the school board should be involved in the hiring process for certain district employees. “My question is when does it become micromanaging,” she said. “You hired me, we have an HR manager. Who trumps who?”

Larson provided the board with some historical context. “The board was always involved in superintendent, human resources and business managers,” he said. “Historically the vote only happens when you (the administration) bring someone here. We can’t bring someone here without your approval, but we can turn down your recommendation.”

Manick has proposed that more positions should at least have board members present in the room for the interview, which spurred Engebritson’s query.

Swanson questioned the need for the board to be present, and said it’s never been an issue.

Engebritson said she was hired so the board would trust her with the decision and said it was part of her job.

“Why is the board even here if it is an issue of trust?” Manick said in response.

Pat Christiensen said the Minnesota School Boards Association was quite clear that school boards are not to be involved in much of the hiring process.

Swanson said he thought while the board couldn’t recommend or vote during the hiring rounds, he thought board members could still attend as observers. The consensus as the conversation progressed was that board members should at least be allowed to do just that.

“Are you receptive to letting board members sit in on final round interviews, but not have a vote until it comes before the board?” Taylor asked Engebritson, who replied she would be okay with it.

The board agreed to have at least one person present on hiring for positions for department heads and directors along with principals and high-level district staff.

Other business

The board agreed to allow the district to split the North Woods second grade class into additional sections.

Plans for renovations at Cherry and South Ridge were again reviewed with the intention that the board would tour the Cherry School ahead of their next meeting.

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