Cloquet School Board votes on officers, stipends and more

Gary Huard was unanimously elected to a third consecutive year as chair of the Cloquet School Board at the group's first meeting of 2012 Monday night.

Gary Huard was unanimously elected to a third consecutive year as chair of the Cloquet School Board at the group's first meeting of 2012 Monday night.

In fact, all the group's officers will carry over from a year ago. Duane Buytaert was re-elected as clerk and Sandy Crowley was re-elected as treasurer for the coming year.

"It's a challenge," Huard said of his responsibilities. "Every meeting is a challenge. We learn different things all the time but we have a great board. We don't always agree on everything and we do have discussions, but in the end, we get things done."

Superintendent Ken Scarbrough praised the relationship he has with Huard and other board members.

"It's his third year as chair," Scarbrough said. "He has the pulse of the community and he runs a very good meeting. There are good relationships on this board and that helps everyone stay in touch."


Board members also voted to keep their salaries at their current level of $160 per month, with a $40 stipend for additional meetings they attend outside of board hours. Scarbrough is exempt from this stipend.

In other actions, the board voted to accept a $10,000 "planning budget" for the district's participation in the Multi-District Collaborative Council (MDCC), a state-mandated group consisting of local school districts.

The board's purpose is to encourage multi-cultural collaboration among students and the school district, including developing cultural awareness, improving cultural understanding, providing interaction opportunities, and reducing achievement gaps.

Scarbrough said most of the budget money will be reimbursed by the state.

"Our school district isn't designated as having issues in this area [of cultural collaboration]," Scarbrough said. "Our students have an advantage in this area where some other districts do not. Our issue is that we have diversity to consider with Asian, Hispanic and African-American students as well."

The MDCC's members will be from the Cloquet, Esko, Carlton, Cromwell-Wright, Proctor and St. Louis County school districts.

The district's representatives will be Scarbrough, board member Dan Danielson, Indian Education Director Tara Graves, Local Indian Education Coordinator Gerard Sordelet and CHS vice-principal Connie Hyde.

In other actions, the school board:


+ Voted to allow administration to gather bids for the district's orchestra equipment with the eventual intention of holding an auction. The administration will seek opinions on the value of the instruments in the district's inventory before a decision is made on how to sell them. Scarbrough said he would prefer to see funds raised go back into the district's music budget.

+ Postponed a planned third reading of a new staff Code of Conduct. Scarbrough said he wanted to hold additional meetings with staff members who said they hadn't received enough information about the proposed policy.

+ Agreed to allow administration to pursue a cost estimate for the services of Dr. Bruce Miles for long-term strategic planning. Miles, who works at St. Cloud State University, has worked with the district in the past. Board member Jim Crowley said he was hopeful Miles could offer opinions on whether the district is providing enough industrial tech education opportunities, if his services could be obtained at reasonable cost.

+ Reviewed the annual enrollment reports and projections. Business Manager Kim Josephson said the district's enrollment is 2,277 students, just 11 fewer than 10 years ago. "We are fortunate in this regard, given the situation of some other school districts," he said.

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