MLPS School Board holds January meeting

Take action on extra-curricular resignations, changes


MOUNTAIN LAKE PUBLIC School (MLPS) School Board members. Officers in front are, from left, Treasurer Pam Hoek, Vice-Chair Tom Fast, Chair Chad Pedersen and Clerk Julie Brugman. Directors at back, from left, Dave Bucklin, Audi Nickel and Matt Gohr.


The Mountain Lake Public School (MLPS) School Board met Tuesday, January 16, in Room #1 of the high school. After the final new school board member, Audi Nickel, took the Oath of Office, board members got down to business.

Action items dealt primarily with resignations and changes to coaches and advisors in extra-curricular activities:

  • Accepted the resignation of Head Volleyball Coach Cheri Hanson and approved posting for a coach for the 2018-2019 school year.
  • Approved the resignation of Amy Hartzler (school social worker) as Science Fair Advisor, and hired Randi Doescher, Mountain Lake Public Elementary School fourth-grader teacher, as Science Fair Advisor.
  • Approved the posting for a Fall Musical Director.
Plumbing problems


DUE TO ONGOING plumbing infrastructure problems, the checkerboard bathrooms and the ag classroom bathrooms are not available for student use until further notice. In addition, the handicapped bathroom near the agricultural rooms will be used strictly for handicapped students and members of the public. 

MLPS Superintendent Bill Strom presented plumbing infrastructures that have been addressed on a nearly weekly basis since last October to board members.

Because of this ongoing problem, the checkerboard bathrooms and the ag classroom bathrooms are not available for student use until further notice. In addition, the handicapped bathroom near the agricultural rooms will be used strictly for handicapped students and members of the public.

A solution to this problem (and larger plumbing infrastructure) was researched this past summer when the problem began to emerge. In November/December the problem became worse and Buildings and Grounds/Maintenance Supervisor John Carrison had the drain pipes scoped with a camera system.

That recent examination of the drainage sewage systems revealed significant deterioration of the cast-iron sewage pipes exiting the building. These pipes are a part of the system that includes the bathrooms in the checkerboard hallways of the 1920 connection between the 1903 building and the 1930 building and the bathrooms near the agricultural classrooms.

The problem line runs through the floors of the 1904 building, the 1920 building, the 1958 building and the 1970 building. It appears that the main problem right now lies under the 1970 building. The piping runs from the checkerboard hallway bathrooms under the cement floor to near the ag bathrooms and under the cement floor in the CTE (Career and Technical Education) room currently used by Lindsey Brockberg.

Optimism surrounds the lines under the 1920 building because they are 4″ copper lines. However, the lines in the 1970 building are cast iron.

The conclusion is that there is an imminent need to replace this plumbing infrastructure.

The hope had been that this project could either wait until summer 2018 or following the passage of a building referendum. However, it cannot wait until that time, and there are no guarantees that a building referendum will be approved by voters. With the current problems, this situation will be addressed as soon as possible.

Klassen Construction of New Ulm will look for solutions when they visit the school this week.

Solving this problem will likely require the temporary relocation of classrooms.

Approved MLEA seniority list

At the December school board meeting, a tentative seniority list for teachers was approved. After this was posted, the document continued to be reviewed and some discrepancies were discovered. This led to a further review of that document. Also reviewed were past seniority lists dating back to 2013-2014.

As a result of the investigation, a number of discrepancies over the years was found. Those discrepancies have begun to fixed and a revised tentative seniority list was approved at the meeting, with final approval at the February school board meeting.

This matter has been reviewed with Mountain Lake Education Association (MLEA) negotiators and the MLEA president.

The revisions broke up the list by license categories and names, with all numbers now matching.

In other business

+ Discussed forming a two-hour late start policy addressing -30 degrees Fahrenheit wind chill winter days. Superintendent Strom will form a policy to be acted on at the board’s February meeting.

+ Approved the following donations:

  • Southwest Initiative Fund – $5,000 for Chrome Books for the ag department.
  • Southwest Initiative Fund – $2,000 for Chrome Books for the elementary school.
  • American Family Insurance – $520 for Mountain Lake Public High School (MLHS) Senior High Band and Choir trip.
  • American Family Insurance – $480 for Chrome Books for the elementary school.
  • Bargen, Inc. – $100 for Elementary Family Math Night.
  • United Prairie Bank – $50 for Elementary Family Math Night.
  • Peterson Drug – $25 for Elementary Family Math Nigiht.
  • Mountain Lake Fire & Rescue – $250 for youth basketball.

+ Approved a Remick Grant Request for the MLHS Senior High Band and Choir trip.

+ Approved open enrollments; two into the district from Windom Public School and one out of the district to Comfrey Public School.

+ Approved the 2018 mileage rate of $.545 a mile.

+ Approved the updated list of upcoming regular monthly school board meetings:

  • Tuesday, February 29, 5:30 p.m., Room #1
  • Monday, March 19, 5:30 p.m., Room #1
  • Monday, April 16, 5:30 p.m., Room #1
  • Monday, May 21, 5:30 p.m., Room #1
  • Monday, June 25, 5:30 p.m., Room #1
  • Monday, July 16, 5:30 p.m., Room #1

+ Heard a Negotiations Committee report. The district has received the numbers as presented by the MLEA and will be coming with a proposal in February. The contract with non-certified personnel has been completed. In addition to the teachers, additional certified staff to receive a negotiated contract include MLPS Superintedent Bill Strom, MLHS Principal Michelle Larson and Mountain Lake Public Elementary School Principal Jon Schwaegerl.

+ Heard a report form the Building Committee. The survey for district residents is almost set to go to print. In addition, focus has been on the boiler room. On Thursday, January 18, personnel from L & M Boiler and Mankato Controls will be in the school to provide recommendations and opinions on the current room and its boilers pending future school remodeling/building projects.

+ Learned that the Driver’s Education Annual Report was submitted.

+ Heard a report on Health and Safety/OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Report Sweep Account.

MLPS Superintendent Bill Strom’s review
  • On Friday, January 19, a meeting will be held with the following people for building project review, including engineering options, priorities and costs. Attending this meeting will be Mark Lenz from MLA Architects, Gary Benson from Krauss Anderson. Mike Dolejs from Dolejs Engineers, John Carrison (MLPS Building and Grounds/Maintenance Supervisor, Superintendent Bill Strom, MLPS School Board Chair Chad Pedersen, MLPS School Board Director Matt Gohr and Shawn Naas and Bryan Bargen from the MLPS Building Committee.
  • A Meet & Confer meeting was held on Tuesday, January 16, preceding the school board meeting. The agenda item discussed was the 2018–2019 calendar.
  • The 2017-2019 contract with the non-certified union has been settled following negotiations. In accordance with past practice, the increases approved with the non-certified union agreement will be used as a standard to complete all other non-certified staff for those school years. The MLEA teacher contract, school board member compensation, principals and superintendent remain
  • School enrollment is up from 485 to 515, with the elementary school up 20 students and the high school steady.










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