School Board Minutes (January 2009-August 2013)

Special Meeting with Ely City Council

Special Meeting with Ely City Council                                        February 26, 2009


          The special meeting of the School Board of Independent School District No. 696 and the Ely City Council held at Vertin’s back dining room was called to order by Chairman Marsnik at 6:03 p.m. On roll call the following members of the School Board were present: Erzar, Kellerman, Marsnik, Pengal. Absent: Richter, York-Jesme. Also present: Superintendent Donald Langan.

          Mayor Roger Skraba  called the roll for the City Council; the following members were present: Warren Nikkola, Heidi Omerza, Frank Salerno, Gordon Sheddy. Absent: Jerome Debeltz, Mark Zupec, and City Clerk/Treasurer Terri Boese. Also present: Harold Langowski, Operations Director; Kelly Klun, City Attorney.

          Scott Stowell, Ely Timberjay, and Tom Coombe, Ely Echo, were also present.

          The future of the JFK building was discussed. Supt. Langan reported that Tony Mancuso, Property Manager for St. Louis Co. has notified the school that the County plans to vacate the JFK building by the fall of 2009. Their lease is up June 30, 2009, and Supt. Langan anticipates they will ask for a three-month lease to September 30, 2009. Mayor Skraba asked about the possibility of the City occupying the JFK building temporarily (about two years) while the City constructs a new shared facility. Council Member Nikkola expressed the importance of the City and School District getting the County to make a commitment to staying in the JFK building while a new city structure is being built. It was agreed that Board members Erzar and Pengal will be ad hoc members of the City’s Building Committee (Operations Director Harold Langowski, Council Member Sheddy, Mayor Skraba) and will plan to meet with Tony Mancuso, St. Louis Co. Property Manager, to discuss the issue.

          Council Member Omerza asked what would happen to Happy Days Nursery School and the Ely Head Start (both currently occupy space in the JFK bldg.) if the County vacates and there are no knew tenants. Supt. Langan stated that space could be found in the Washington or Memorial buildings for them.

          Mayor Skraba asked what the school plans to do with the JFK Building if it becomes unoccupied. Supt. Langan stated that is would possibly be demolished (Health and Safety monies can be used for demolition) and it could become green space. 

          The Federal Stimulus Package was discussed. Supt. Langan stated that the district will receive money in special education (IDEA) and Title I & IIb but is uncertain how much, when it will be received, and what restrictions may be applied to the funds. The school is pursuing stimulus money for an undetermined construction project. He anticipates the money would be received on a matching basis so the school may have to go to the community for support via a referendum.

          Langowski spoke about the upcoming Central Avenue project. It is a 3.3 million dollar project and the City is hoping to receive some Stimulus money towards its completion.

          Erzar and Mayor Skraba expressed the importance of sending letters of support of the project to repair Hwy. 169 (between Ely and Tower) to Mike Robinson, MN Department of Transportation, Duluth – District 1, 1123 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811.

          Mayor Skraba stated the City would be working on this year’s and next year’s budgets starting March 10th and that they are losing funding so are getting prepared by finding ways to save money and generate revenue. He stated the City is interested in pursuing ways the City and School District could possibly help each other out by joint new construction and/or new energy sources.

          Employee health insurance and membership in the Northeast Service Cooperative Pool was discussed. Babbitt has recently left the pool and the city is looking into what they did. Supt. Langan talked briefly about PEIP (Public Employee Insurance Program) health insurance and that there is a bill in the legislature in process.

          Board Member Erzar suggested the possibility of the school and city working together to reduce fuel rates. He also mentioned the water and sewer rates increasing and ways the school could become more efficient by installing waterless fixtures, low flow showerheads, waterless urinals, etc.

          Council Member Omerza who is a member of the Parks & Rec. Board gave an update of the new recreation facility. Rob Simonich’s Building Trades class has been working on the facility as a class project. They finished painting and are now working on trim work. The drop ceiling and some plumbing need to be completed.

          Meeting adjourned at 7:23 p.m.




                                                         Scott C. Kellerman, Clerk