'Super' excitementIt was hard to tell which was better news – the fact that the new high school is on track and progressing, or that Alexandria School District 206 officially has a new superintendent. Of course, the budget audit and enrollment figures were exciting too.
By: Jo Colvin, Alexandria Echo Press
It was hard to tell which was better news – the fact that the new high school is on track and progressing, or that Alexandria School District 206 officially has a new superintendent. Of course, the budget audit and enrollment figures were exciting too.
Those were the main topics of discussion at the District 206 School Board meeting held Monday, October 15.
A NEW SUPERINTENDENT
“There’s lots of excitement about this,” said Board Chair Dean Anderson. He and board member Al Zeithamer had recently spent three hours with Rick Lahn, a candidate for the superintendent position.
“I would say I’m more excited about working with him than I was before,” Anderson continued. “It was a good discussion and a healthy working relationship is starting.”
Lahn (pronounced “lane”) was unanimously approved by the board at the meeting. He will begin his new post on January 1, 2013, replacing current superintendent, Terry Quist, who will retire on December 31.
Lahn has served as superintendent of Princeton Public Schools since 2009. He has 25 years of experience as a superintendent, principal, assistant principal, dean of students, and teacher in both public and private schools in Minnesota.
He is a graduate of North Dakota State University with a Master of Science and specialist degrees from St. Cloud State University. He has also been a Bush Educators Fellow with the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Lahn signed a three-year contract with a salary of $143,000 with a 1.75 percent increase each of the next two years. The contract will shift to a paid time-off model instead of separate days for sick leave, vacation and emergency leave.
The contract will also allow exchange days with Princeton that allow him to work in District 206 up to 10 days prior to January 1, and will include days after that in Princeton to assist them with their transition.
According to Anderson, Lahn has a strong record of achievement for championing successful programs that enhance academic growth. And he is looking forward to his new position in Alexandria.
“He is excited about going ahead with this,” Anderson said.
An update from Chad Rettke of Kraus-Anderson Construction Company also gave the board exciting news about the new high school.
“We are making good progress,” Rettke said. “There are a lot of things going on at the site, a lot of work is happening out there. Things are starting to take shape.”
Rettke stated that the footings and foundation began in September. The north lot has asphalt and curb, and most utilities are complete. The south and east drives are cut in and have classified fill. Lighting is ongoing and power is being installed on the west side. Fence and stadium work have begun.
Work will continue over the winter in the locker room, band and choir, and kitchen areas.
“There are a lot of good contractors and things are going really well,” Rettke concluded.
HOW MANY, HOW MUCH
Trevor Peterson, director of business, gave an update on enrollment figures in the district. At this time last year, there were 3,957 students enrolled. By year’s end that number decreased to 3,944. According to Peterson, this slight decrease is common.
This year, as of October 1, 3,952 students call District 206 home.
“All in all, if things hold true as to where they are now, we will see an increase, which reflects the amount we get from the state,” Peterson said.
Following the presentation of the enrollment figures, the district received a clean, unqualified audit opinion on its 2011-12 annual audit from Eide Bailly LLP.
According to Peterson, “The variances between actual revenues and expenditures versus budget were less than 0.5 percent and resulted in a fund balance increase of the general fund of $445,000.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
At the conclusion of the meeting, board member David Anderson pointed out what is perhaps the most exciting news of all – the success of students.
Referring to the recent Hall of Fame inductee ceremony, Anderson commended the administration and the foundation for yet another successful event. At the luncheon, former students Bud Peterson, Joani Nielson and John Hawkes were honored.
“It was tremendous! It’s something you don’t want to miss,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to lose sight of the most important thing – academics and how these kids have all succeeded.”