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Brainerd School Board to cut back number of meetings

Audience members listen in on the Brainerd School Board meeting Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
Audience members listen in on the Brainerd School Board meeting Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Beginning next month, the Brainerd School Board will meet once a month instead of twice.

School Board members began meeting twice a month after passing the referendum in April 2018 because of extra action that would need to be taken for all of the building projects. The understanding at that time, Superintendent Laine Larson said Monday, Jan. 10, was that the board would return to only meeting once monthly once building projects began to wrap up. With the final wave of projects in the works, that time has now come.

Special meetings and work sessions will be scheduled as needed, Larson said.

Board members approved the 2022 meeting schedule, which includes two regularly scheduled January meetings and one meeting per month for the rest of the year. The regular meeting will typically be at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month, with the exception of March, when the board will meet at noon Wednesday, March 9.

These regular meetings, board member Jana Shogren noted, include time for public comment. Whenever the board schedules special meetings, there typically is not time reserved for public comment, which is not actually required at open meetings under state statute.

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“And the term ‘special board meeting’ I think is confusing sometimes,” Shogren said. “There’s really nothing special about them, necessarily, just that we need an extra meeting sometimes to tend to a certain issue that comes up. So I think that’s just a good clarifying point for people who are worried that we’re doing it for any other reason than that there just needs to be a meeting in a more timely manner.”

In other organizational business Monday, the board:

Elected board officers for 2022, deciding to stay with the same roles members took up last August, after Board Chair Bob Nystrom resigned from his post. Ruth Nelson will continue on as chair, with Charles Black Lance as vice chair, Shogren as clerk and Kevin Boyles as treasurer.

Designated official depositories: Bremer Bank, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Wings Financial Credit Union, Frandsen Bank & Trust, BlackRidgeBANK, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union, American National Bank, Riverwood Bank, Unity bank, Deerwood Bank, Bank of America, The Minnesota School Liquid Asset Fund and financial institutions identified through MNTrust and Ehlers Investment Partners.

Designated the Brainerd Dispatch as the official legal newspaper for 2022 at the same rate as 2021.

Designated Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger as the primary law firm representing the district and authorized the superintendent to retain other legal counsel to the extent necessary to ensure the district has adequate legal representation for matters requiring specific or unique expertise.

Approved an increase in board member compensation to $4,800 per year. The previous yearly stipend was $4,200, which had not been increased since the 1980s. The board voted in October to discontinue health and dental benefits for newly elected board members. Those currently enrolled will retain benefits through 2022.

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

Related Topics: ISD 181 BRAINERD
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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