Bob Nystrom took the reins as 2021 Brainerd School Board chair during the board’s organizational meeting Monday, Jan. 11.

“Thank you to the board. Thank you for putting your trust in me to do this position,” Nystrom said from his new spot at the head of the table.

He welcomed newcomers Jana Shogren and Kevin Boyles, expressing confidence in their abilities to serve, and thanked outgoing board members Reed Campbell and Sue Kern.

“They served the board well over the years, and we wish them well,” Nystrom said of Campbell and Kern.

He continued on to highlight some of the challenges the district will likely face over the next year and thanked those who worked so hard through 2020 to provide students with a quality education.

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Incoming Brainerd School Board member Kevin Boyles takes the oath of office Monday, Jan. 11, during the board's meeting livestreamed via YouTube. Screenshot
Incoming Brainerd School Board member Kevin Boyles takes the oath of office Monday, Jan. 11, during the board's meeting livestreamed via YouTube. Screenshot

“This is the start of my fifth term on the board, and I can tell you that a lot has changed in those 16 years from when I first came on,” Nystrom said. “And what I can say that hasn’t changed is that these are still kids just like you and I were when we attended. For (board member) Tom (Haglin) and I we attended here in Brainerd, and really the kids today aren’t any different than what they were back then, so we have that commitment to them but also to do it with the constraints of a budget. That’s the huge challenge we have, and now of course we’re also dealing with a pandemic.

“I also want to thank the staff for what they did last year. It was an incredible job. They still continue to do that. This is an extremely difficult environment to teach kids in, and we want to thank the kids. We also want to thank the parents for doing the best job that they can for those kids.”

Incoming Brainerd School Board member Jana Shogren takes the oath of office Monday, Jan. 11, during the board's meeting livestreamed via YouTube. Screenshot
Incoming Brainerd School Board member Jana Shogren takes the oath of office Monday, Jan. 11, during the board's meeting livestreamed via YouTube. Screenshot

Ruth Nelson took over as vice chair, while Charles Black Lance was chosen as clerk and Shogren as treasurer.

Shogren will also serve on the board’s long-range planning committee, along with the Community Education Advisory Council, Continuing Education Committee and the Interagency Early Intervention Committee. Boyles will start off his tenure on the board’s insurance committee, along with the Forestview Middle School Counseling Advisory Board, Sourcewell Representative Assembly and the employee benefits committee.

In other organizational business Monday, the board:

Approved official district depositories: Bremer Bank (primary), Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Brainerd Savings and Loans, Frandsen Bank & Trust, BlackRidgeBANK, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, American National Bank, Riverwood Bank, Unity Bank, Deerwood Bank, Bank of America, the Minnesota School District Liquid Asset Fund and financial institutions identified through MNTrust and Ehlers Investment Partners.

Authorized the superintendent or director of business services to invest surplus funds, approve and confirm grants and execute contracts and work agreements under $50,000, per state statute.

Delegated the director of business services or accountant to electronically transfer funds for the district.

Approved a financial condition resolution authorizing the superintendent and administration to consider the discontinuance of programs and/or positions in the district for economic reasons, reduce expenditures and make recommendations to the board for the possible discontinuance or reduction of programs and positions.

Designated the Brainerd Dispatch as the official newspaper for 2021, at a cost of $10.66 per inch of legal notices.

Designated Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger as the primary legal firm representing the district. The board also authorized the superintendent to retain other legal counsel necessary at her discretion.

Approved board compensation at $4,200 per year. This amount has not changed since 1986. Black Lance suggested the board look to scale that compensation back in future years.

Approved the board members rights to employment policy outlined by the state, allowing board members to earn up to $8,000 a year from additional employment within the district.



THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.