Finance concerns were on the table at the Crosslake Community School Board meeting Monday, July 9, after board members were notified of unexpected end-of-lease costs for the school's soon-to-be vacated buildings.
Paul Hiniker, owner of some of the buildings leased to the school, came to Monday's meeting to discuss the $52,778 of maintenance costs the school is now responsible for to get the facilities back into the shape they were in before the lease started. Costs include new floors, bathroom upgrades, repainting walls and tearing down a wall the school put up, among others.
"When you lease a building ... you give it in a certain condition, you expect to get it back in the same condition. And so these are all items that we believe are pertinent to trying to accomplish that," Hiniker said, adding that some items, like a new gym floor, would have been taken care of earlier had the school not been occupying the building.
The initial maintenance costs were higher, but Hiniker said he deducted the school's lease aid from July and August - which amounted to about $40,000 - from the costs because the school was nice to enough to continue the lease through the summer.
Board Chair Lori Scharenbroich thanked Hiniker for that generosity and said she understood some of the costs but was still worried about the budget, as the costs amount to more than 10 percent of the board's fund balance.
"That puts a significant amount of pressure on us," Scharenbroich said, adding she does want to make everybody whole in the end though.
"Because we're grateful we had these buildings," she said. "That was so much of the character that built the school in the first place."
Hiniker said he is willing to work with the school - whether it means a payment plan or finding other contractors who might do some of the work cheaper - because he loves having the school in town and is grateful that it leased the buildings in the first place. However, those costs, he said, are still legitimate and amount to a lot of money for him.
Board members suggested using Hy-Tec, the company building the new school, as a resource to find companies or individuals who might do the work for less than the original estimates. Hiniker said he is OK with that and is open to trying to lower the costs.
Board members also agreed to talk to the school's attorney to make sure the end-of-lease costs are normal.
Executive Director Todd Lyscio said the board set aside just under $11,000 to cover a shortfall in food services for the 2017-18 school year, based on years past, but only needed about $1,000 of that money. The rest of that money can be put toward the end-of-lease costs.
In other business Monday, the school board:
• Learned there are three students on the waitlist for the 2018-19 school year (one third-grader and two fifth-graders) and discussed the potential of enrolling the students. Board members agreed not to make a decision until the August meeting when numbers might be more concrete, and Lyscio said he will notify affected families of the timeline.
• Learned two teachers - Mara Powers and Miranda Graceffa - recently attended a Marzano High Reliability School Summit in Austin, Texas. Powers said Sourcewell (previously National Joint Powers Alliance) paid for the two to attend the conference because of their training high reliability teaching certification. The board will hear from two Sourcewell employees at its August meeting about high reliability schools.
• Approved Jodi Schott as a Minnesota Department of Education reporting authority.
• Hired Jasmine Lies and Paige Moorhouse as paraprofessionals.
• Approved the 2018-19 agreement for special education services with the Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative.
• Learned the Minnesota Department of Education approved the school's fifth- and sixth-grade online programs.
Board members Lisa Steffen and Karen Larson could not attend the meeting.