The Mineral Point School Board held its regular monthly meeting Monday night and tackled a very full agenda.

Video link:

— The Board unanimously approved an additional 2% compensation increase for staff for the current 2023-24 school year. 

This idea came before the Board at the October levy meeting when it was discovered the District would likely have a budget surplus for the current school year after having initially projected a deficit earlier in the summer. 

At the time, Superintendent Mitch Wainwright proposed providing each staff member with an additional 2% bump in pay over their 2022-23 salary. This would equal a 6% pay raise for the 2023-24 school year, instead of the current 4% raise. This proposal would cost the district approximately $130,000.

Wainwright reiterated past conversations the Board has had around retention and recruitment of staff, as well as a desire to get as close as possible to the full CPI increase of 8%, in support of his recommendation to raise wages.

In that October meeting, the Board wanted to wait until after the first of the year to hopefully have a clearer picture of the needs of the District before it determined what to do with the surplus.

Also, due to state restrictions on school finances, surplus money cannot be “saved” for a salary increase in the next fiscal year.  If the money was meant for the 2023-24 school year, it must be spent in that same school year.  If it is not spent, the District’s state aid would be reduced in the following year.

(Go to the one hour, 52 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved new direction for the Food Service program for next school year, which would include bringing the operations back under the District umbrella and no longer using Taher Food Service or going out to Request for Proposal for a vendor.

Superintendent Wainwright recommended moving the program in-house, citing possible cost savings.

(Go to the two hour, 14 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the transfer of funds for the establishment of an escrow account with respect to the defeasance of the general obligation refunding bonds dated July 9, 2019.

The District had levied an additional amount of money with the intent to pay down the debt on the elementary school building referendum as quickly as possible, thinking it could be done right away. However, the bonds cannot have payment made on them for another few years. The money was then put into a CD account to earn some interest. This move is expected to save the District approximately $300,000 in interest.

(Go to the two hour, one minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved a resolution to attach parcels from the Iowa-Grant School District to the Mineral Point Unified School District and alter the District boundary. The attachment would also need approval from the Iowa-Grant School Board.

(Go to the two hour, seven minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the hirings of Arianna Barr as a Middle School Instructional Assistant, and Rodney Horne as an Elementary Custodian. (Go to the two hour, 39 minute mark)

— The Board unanimously approved a purchase over $10,000, using district flow-through grant money, for a new Dodge Caravan District vehicle. (Go to the two hour, 29 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board unanimously approved the District Library Plan To Meet DPI Compliance and heard from Elementary Librarian Micki Uppena. (Go to the one hour, 43 minute, 45 second mark)

— Matthew Goninen was recognized for his participation in the State Senate Scholar program. (This begins the meeting video)

— The Board approved the credit card statement and bills payable by a 6-0-1 vote (with Joni Heisner abstaining). Go to the three minute mark.

— The Board discussed updates on their priorities (Recruit and Retain Staff, Providing a Safe Social and Emotional Environment for Everyone, School Board Governance). Go to the 11 minute mark of the video.

— The Board reviewed the annual District financial audit conducted by Johnson & Block. (Go to the 18 minute, 30 second mark)

— Board members reported on takeaways from their attendance at the Wisconsin State Education Convention in Milwaukee. (Go to the 33 minute mark)

— A discussion on the Board’s Winter Retreat in January was held. (Go to the 36 minute, 30 second mark)

— Building Administrators provided reports on winter academic data. (Go to the 39 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Board heard an update on DPI special education cyclical indicators. (Go to the one hour, 24 minute mark)

— Superintendent Mitch Wainwright provided his monthly budget update. (Go to the one hour, 33 minute, 30 second mark)

— The Finance Committee presented a report from their most recent meeting. (Go to the one hour, 34 minute, 30 second mark)

— The next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 11 at 6 pm.