ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Pine River-Backus School Board: Aimers appointed board chair

New Pine River-Backus School Board member Lee Aimers was chosen as school board chair for 2015 at the Monday, Jan. 12, reorganizational meeting that preceded the regular board meeting.

New Pine River-Backus School Board member Lee Aimers was chosen as school board chair for 2015 at the Monday, Jan. 12, reorganizational meeting that preceded the regular board meeting.

Aimers won the seat on a 4-3 vote versus Chris Cunningham, acting chair following the death of board member and former chair Sandra Poferl. Board members Katy Botz, Jim Coffland, Richie Bean and Aimers voted for Aimers, while Dave Sheley, Cunningham and Garny Gaffey voted for Cunningham.

Cunningham was also nominated as vice chair, but again a 4-3 vote awarded the position to another board member, Coffland. Botz, Coffland, Bean and Aimers voted for Coffland, while Sheley, Cunningham and Gaffey voted for Cunningham.

As his first act as chair, Aimers presided over the remainder of the reorganizational meeting and brought particular attention to the formation of the finance and negotiation committees. Though most new committees will not be formed or active until February, Aimers stressed that he would like these two committees to be formed and active in time for a Jan. 20 meeting.
To that end, Aimers also said he would like as many board members involved as possible. When asked, Superintendent Cathy Bettino said the board has traditionally had a maximum of three members on any committee to honor the quorum, though she said it was up to the board if it would like to have more on the finance and negotiation committees.

Aimers requested that any interested parties should contact him so he could review that list.

ADVERTISEMENT

The board also set times and dates for the official regular board meetings in 2015. With the exception of the Feb. 9 meeting (moved from Feb. 16 because of the Presidents Day holiday), all meetings will be held the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m.

Furthermore, the board approved a committee meeting schedule and board salaries with no changes from last year. Similarly, no changes were made to the official board publication (PineandLakes Echo Journal), depositories (Pine River State Bank and Minnesota School District Liquid Asset fund), meal reimbursement rates and legal counsel (Kennedy and Graven).

There was some discussion regarding a change to the mileage reimbursement. Cunningham proposed eliminating an 18-cent per mile reimbursement for individuals who choose to use their personal vehicles when a school vehicle is available. Those who used their personal vehicles when a school vehicle was not available would have still been reimbursed at 44 cents per mile as per the school policy.

But the board approved the current mileage rates of 18 cents per mile for those who choose to use their vehicle when a school vehicle is available and 44 cents per mile for those who must use their vehicle when a school vehicle is unavailable. The vote was 4-2 with one abstention. Aimers abstained while Cunningham and Gaffey opposed. Bean, Sheley, Botz and Coffland approved the current reimbursement.

Discussion ensued regarding district membership in various organizations. The district is currently a paid member of nine organizations. Coffland made a motion to approve membership to six of those organizations, proposing not renewing membership to Schools for Equity in Education, National School Board Association National Affiliate Program and Minnesota Rural Education Association.

Coffland proposed cutting these memberships as a beginning to a series of cost cuts to the district. Eliminating those memberships would eliminate $5,164.90 of membership fees.

It was brought into question how these organizations serve Pine River-Backus (PR-B) specifically. The motion failed by a 4-3 vote with Aimers, Botz and Coffland in favor and Bean, Cunningham, Gaffey and Sheley opposed.

Sheley said he would like a chance to research the organizations in question, and their benefits to PR-B before deciding to cut them. The board unanimously agreed to table renewal of the organization memberships until the board has a chance to review the organizations in question.

Related Topics: SCHOOL BOARDPINE RIVERBACKUS
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
Inmates in-custody in the Mille Lacs County jail in Milaca, Minnesota
Inmates in-custody in the Hubbard County jail in Park Rapids, Minnesota
Modern schools offer more than one type of education