Board sets first of a series of public presentations on facilities planThe process by which the Cloquet School District’s facilities may or may not be upgraded is closer to getting under way.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
The process by which the Cloquet School District’s facilities may or may not be upgraded is closer to getting under way.
Prior to Monday’s brief meeting of the Cloquet School Board, Superintendent Ken Scarbrough said that a special presentation by Kraus Anderson, the district’s consultant on facilities, will be made to the school board beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, in the school board room at Garfield Community Center. The presentation is open to the public.
“We’d like to have four or five public meetings,” Scarbrough said, “before we get anything presented in the form of a plan. We also want our principals and Community Education involved in those meetings, too.”
The goal is to have a plan submitted to the board for its consideration early next spring. Any plan approved by the board would need state review before being presented to Cloquet voters as part of a referendum in 2014.
Scarbrough also noted that the ongoing confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act is leading to a meeting at around the same time with experts on the new health care law.
“We want to have that meeting in the second week in November,” Scarbrough said. “We are meeting with one of the top experts in the state on the law and hopefully we can get some answers.”
Scarbrough noted that if the district does in fact offer a “bronze plan” to employees as required by the now-suspended employer mandate, income for the employees being above certain thresholds may lock them out of the state’s new health care exchange.
“A plan that costs $6,000 a year with a $2,000 deductible might not be a good plan by comparison to others,” Scarbrough said. “If they go onto the (exchange) site, they might be able to get a better plan cheaper. That will take a good deal of education for the public.”
Scarbrough noted the new law might well affect negotiations with unions.
“That’s one reason why we might really want a one-year contract with AFSCME,” Scarbrough said. “We will probably have to revisit the health care laws.”
State law requires that teachers’ contracts be for two years, but the district’s other unions may have contracts of differing lengths.
In pre-meeting discussion, Scarbrough also discussed the status of the middle school pool, where the heating element is out for the third time.
“Nobody is sure why,” he said. “We put in a new system two years ago but this one is out again. Right now we are looking to see if any part of the new system is still under warranty. We may go back to the old heating system we had which worked for about 10 years and was a lot cheaper.”
In other board action, the school board renewed agreements for the popular “College in the High School” program for the next year.