Moorhead Area Public Schools' District Blog

Archive for the ‘School Board’ Category

School Board election set for Nov. 4 in conjunction with general election

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Eleven school district residents have filed for three seats open on the Moorhead School Board. During a special meeting Aug. 21, the School Board set the election for Nov. 4. The School Board election will be held in conjunction with the state general election.

The 11 candidates for School Board, in order of filing, are Karla Swenson, Cassidy Bjorklund, Ryan Jensen, Karen Stensgard, incumbent William K. “Bill” Tomhave, Brian Doucette, David Marquardt, Mark Altenburg, Melissa Burgard, Scot W. Hagen and incumbent Laurie A. Johnson.

The Moorhead School Board is made up of seven residents of Independent School District 152 who are elected at large to four-year terms. Three board members’ terms expire at the end of 2014.

Construction projects remain on budget as work continues at Robert Asp and Probstfield

Friday, August 15th, 2014

Construction continues on building additions at Robert Asp Elementary and Probstfield Center for Education, with work remaining on budget. Although neither project was scheduled to be ready for the start of the school year, delays in receiving state authorization for permits and wet weather in June mean the additions will not be complete until later this fall. Read more:

Candidate filing opens July 29 for Moorhead School Board

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Candidates may begin filing affidavits of candidacy for the office of Moorhead School Board member on Tuesday, July 29. The two-week candidate filing period closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The filing fee for school district office is $2. Affidavits of candidacy will be available from the school district clerk in the Office of the Superintendent at Probstfield Center for Education, 2410 14th St. S., Moorhead. Completed affidavits of candidacy must be filed at the superintendent’s office by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12 along with the $2 filing fee.

The Moorhead School Board is made up of seven residents of Independent School District 152 who are elected at large to four-year terms. Three board members’ terms expire at the end of 2014.

Newly elected board members take their seats in January 2015, and the board also elects officers at that time.

For school district office, a person may be a candidate who:
• will be at least 21 years old at the time the term of office begins,
• is a resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to the election,
• is an eligible voter, and
• is not registered as a convicted sex offender.

Candidates can have no other affidavit on file for any other office in the Nov. 4 general election.

The School Board sets the policies for the management of Moorhead Area Public Schools, which the superintendent and district staff carry out. In addition to attending the bi-monthly board meetings, School Board members serve as liaisons to various district and non-district committees.

Board members receive $800 per month compensation.

For additional information about the Moorhead School Board election contact the Office of the Superintendent at 284-3330 or visit the district’s website at

School Board adds funding stability by converting portion of operating levy

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

To help maintain stability in district funding, the Moorhead School Board converted a portion of the district’s operating levy to a board-approved levy at the June 23 board meeting.

District voters approved an $850 per pupil operating levy in 2010. That levy amount was converted to $949.52 when the Minnesota legislature recently changed the way pupil units are counted for funding.

Action by the legislature allows Minnesota school districts to approve a board-approved levy of up to $300 per pupil unit. This was done to help equalize education funding between those districts where voters have approved higher operating levies and those districts where voters haven’t approved additional operating levies.

In Moorhead, the School Board approved the conversion of $300 of the $949.52 per pupil operating levy to a board-approved levy. The board-approved levy would need to be renewed after five years.

Additionally, $424 of the $949.52 per pupil operating levy is local optional revenue from the state, effective with the 2015-16 school year. The remaining $225 per pupil operating levy is the voter-approved levy that will provide the district with funding through the 2017-18 school year.

In other business, the School Board approved the district’s annual operating plan, which includes the preliminary budget for the 2014-15 school year. General fund revenues are projected at $64.3 million with expenses projected to be $63.6 million.

Even with several construction projects underway, the district’s property tax levy will be reduced because refunding bonds earlier this year offsets some of the construction costs.

Capital projects for 2014-15 outlined by Jeremy Larson, interim assistant superintendent, include refinishing the Moorhead High School gymnasium floor with the new M logo, work on facilities master planning, enclosing an additional team area for a classroom at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary, and repairing the swimming pool ventilation system at Moorhead High School. Work on the parking lot entry and sidewalk repair at Ellen Hopkins Elementary that was originally planned for this summer may be delayed to the 2015-16 school year.

Besides the gymnasium addition at Reinertsen Elementary, other projects being planned for the 2015-16 school year are security upgrades to school entrances, kitchen remodeling at Probstfield Center for Education, and upgrading the elevator at Moorhead High School as a part of a master facilities plan.

Moorhead School Board names new assistant superintendent

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

At the School Board meeting April 14, the School Board voted on the recommendation of the administration to hire Brandon Lunak as the new assistant superintendent effective July 1, 2014.  Lunak has served as superintendent of the Waubun-Ogema-White Earth Public Schools since 2011, and he is serving as the Minnesota chairperson for the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS).  Read the full story at

June 4 remains last day of school for E-12 students; staff to work June 5-6

Monday, April 14th, 2014

The Moorhead School Board has scheduled the district’s remaining two makeup days for staff only. The last day for students remains June 4; the two makeup days will be for staff on June 5 and 6.

The school district’s 2013-14 calendar included one built-in makeup day. School was canceled Jan. 6 by Governor Dayton, and the built-in makeup day was used.

School also was canceled Jan. 16 and 22. Although March 31 had been scheduled to make up one instructional day, school was canceled on the makeup day. Therefore, two days remained to be made up.

With the adoption of a new literacy program, the implementation of teacher evaluation and other professional development needs, the two remaining makeup days will be used for professional development for staff, said Superintendent Lynne Kovash in the recommendation to the board.

The professional development and work time for teachers currently scheduled for June 5 will be made up through district options and flexible scheduling. Building administrators will work with teachers to determine the work time for closing their classrooms and completing end-of-year work. Information will be provided to the grades 9-12 teachers regarding the options available for making up the half day of professional development.

Non-licensed staff will make up the two days with work time and professional development on June 5 and 6.


Department of Education approves district’s proposed construction projects

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Moorhead Area Public Schools received approval last month from the Minnesota Department of Education for three proposed construction projects.

In November 2013, the School Board approved nine facilities recommendations, including a new track and artificial turf at Moorhead High School and additions to Robert Asp Elementary and Probstfield Center for Education, with construction to begin in the spring of 2014 for all projects.

The positive review and comment from the Commissioner of Education for the Moorhead High, Robert Asp and Probstfield projects judges the proposed construction projects to be educationally and economically advisable. The Moorhead School Board accepted the review and comment statement at the Feb. 24 meeting.

Although estimated costs for the projects have risen slightly since November, the impact on taxpayers will be offset because the Moorhead School Board refinanced some of the district’s long-term debt in January to save approximately $3.8 million in interest payments over seven years.

Replacing the track and installing an artificial turf field at Moorhead High School was originally estimated to be $1.54 million. This was later adjusted to $1.87 million. However, at the March 10 board meeting, the School Board accepted the bids for the project with costs coming in more than $200,000 below earlier estimates. Work is scheduled to begin this spring with a goal of having the new field ready for the Spuds to play football on in the fall, said Jeremy Larson, interim assistant superintendent.

The 11,000-square-foot Robert Asp addition is estimated to cost $2.3 million, which will be paid using the lease levy, and will address a critical shortage of physical education space at Robert Asp Elementary and provide for more equitable elementary school facilities.

The Probstfield Center 20,100-square-foot addition will include eight classrooms and a gymnasium to address the need for elementary classrooms beginning with the 2014-15 school year and gymnasium space issues. It will cost approximately $4.3 million and will be paid for using the district’s lease levy and existing district funds. Costs will rise for this project because another 1,000 square feet of space is needed, Larson said.

Using lease levy financing of about $5 million to pay for part of the Probstfield and Robert Asp additions will have an estimated tax impact of $27 per year on a $200,000 home. The district’s payments would be approximately $439,000 a year, Larson said.

However, the district’s refunding of its long-term debt will reduce payments on the bonds by an average of $550,000 per year for fiscal years 2016 through 2022, which reduces the district’s property tax levies.

School Board approves calendar for 2014-15 school year

Monday, March 10th, 2014

At its meeting on Feb. 24, the Moorhead School Board approved the calendar for the 2014-15 school year. Classes will begin Sept. 2, 2014.

The last day of classes for students is May 29, 2015, unless additional emergency makeup days are needed. March 4 and April 6 are scheduled as makeup days and school will be held on those days if makeup days are needed. If additional days are needed, the calendar will be extended and classes will be scheduled June 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 as needed for makeup days.

Other priorities addressed by the district’s calendar committee in establishing the 2014-15 calendar were having all students in school on the same days, conferences that address schedule needs at the elementary, middle and high school levels, and professional development for teachers and staff spread throughout the school year.

Aug. 26 includes parent communication time for grades 6-12 with Aug. 28 scheduled as the elementary parent communication day prior to the start of the school year.

Fall parent/teacher conferences will be held the evenings of Oct. 13 and 14 at all schools. On Oct. 15 there will be conferences in the morning for grades 9-12 and conferences all day for grades K-8. There will be no classes for K-12 students on Oct. 15 for conferences, and there will be no school on Oct. 16-17 because of the Education Minnesota conference.

Moorhead High School will have conferences during the second quarter on the evening of Dec. 8 and during the third quarter on the evening of Feb. 9. Moorhead High will have a final evening conference on April 20.

Parent/teacher conferences for the elementary schools and Horizon Middle School will be held the evenings of March 2 and 3. There will be no classes for K-12 students on March 4-6 unless March 4 is needed as a makeup day.

There are no classes Nov. 26-28, which falls over the Thanksgiving holiday. Winter break will be Dec. 24 through Jan. 2, 2015. Classes resume Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

There will be no classes for students on Jan. 19, which is a professional development day for teachers. There is no school on Nov. 10, Feb. 16, April 3 and April 6. April 6 is scheduled as the second makeup day if needed. There will be no school on May 25 for Memorial Day.

May 29 is the last day of classes for K-12 students unless the calendar is adjusted. Besides March 4 and April 6, the possible emergency makeup days are June 1-5. School could be scheduled those days if needed. June 1 is the last day for staff unless the end of the year is adjusted. Graduation will be May 31, 2015.

A one-page version of the 2014-15 calendar is available at


School will be held March 31 to make up one missed day

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

The Moorhead School Board has scheduled Monday, March 31, 2014, as an instructional day as makeup for one of the January weather-related school closure days. March 31 was one of three days this year that had been identified as a no school day with optional paid training offered for teachers.

With three weather-related school closure days already this year, it became necessary to consider scheduling a makeup day during the school year, said Superintendent Lynne Kovash.

School was closed Jan. 6 and the built-in makeup day was used. Although Governor Dayton canceled classes for Jan. 6, the school closure day is being treated as any other locally decided, weather-related school cancellation. The other school closure days were Jan. 16 and Jan. 22.

By scheduling March 31 as a student instructional day, one makeup day remains to be scheduled at this time.

“As we continue through the winter months, there may be more school closures,” Kovash said. “A proposal will be brought to the School Board at the end of March to determine additional makeup time.”

District property tax levy decreases for 2014

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Moorhead Area Public Schools’ property tax levy will decrease by 3.1 percent for 2014, according to Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak. Following a presentation by Kazmierczak at the Dec. 9 School Board meeting, board members approved a resolution to certify the district’s 2013 Payable 2014 Property Tax Levy, which provides revenue for the 2014-15 school year. Read more at