Osakis School District employs 66 teachers/staff this year, and the current seniority list was approved by the School Board at its Tuesday, Oct. 9 regular meeting. Fifth grade teacher Dave Dykema has served the school district for 32 years, and tops the seniority list. He began his tenure at Osakis on Aug. 26, 1986. Gina Wagner, who teaches first grade, is serving her 31st year with the Osakis district.Wagner began on Sept. 1, 1987.
Osakis Public Schools will have a new Media Center, thanks to a generous gift of $50,000 from Newman Olson, Jr., and Sonja Olson. Construction on the center was planned for Oct. 18-19, during MEA when school is not is session. The improvements will include flexible seating, painting, removal of some book shelves, and installation of pods in the center.
The Osakis School Board ratified the sale of General Obligation School Refunding Bonds at its Tuesday, Oct. 9 regular meeting, at an interest rate of 2.6 percent. This will result in a savings to district taxpayers of nearly $400,000 over the next eight years. Superintendent Randy Bergquist told the board that the Osakis School District was rated very well, receiving a Triple AAA, A+ rating.
The proposed 2018 tax levy payable 2019 was approved by the Osakis School Board at its Wednesday, Sept. 26 special meeting at 5:30 p.m. The maximum levy allowed of $1,859,178 was proposed. Superintendent Randy Bergquist informed the board that the numbers could still change before the Sept. 30 deadline required to have the numbers sent to the county auditor. The numbers were changing daily during the week, Bergquist said, because of adjustments made by the Minnesota Department of Education coordinator.
A half dozen improvements to the Osakis Public Schools facility were approved by the School Board at its Monday, Sept. 10 regular meeting, totaling $47,724. Approved were: • UTV and/or groomer for the grounds to replace the 1988 equipment at a cost of $15,000. • Converting lights in the elementary gym to LED lights, resulting in better lighting and cheaper costs. Lighting in a portion of the building is being replaced each year. • Basketball hoop pulleys and motors in the old and elementary gyms, total cost of $8,000, to update and to address safety issues.
Minor additions to the Osakis School District personnel lineup were approved at the Monday, Sept. 10 School Board regular meeting. In addition, two contracts for services for the current year were signed. Ryan Maddock's resignation as baseball coach was accepted with thanks for his service. Matt Hoelscher was hired as the Student Council advisor as per master agreement amount of $844. Dylan Kohorst was hired as the assistant baseball coach as per the master agreement amount of $923.
"We did awesome!" beamed Osakis Superintendent Randy Bergquist at the Monday, Sept. 10 regular meeting of the Osakis School Board. Bergquist was reporting on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) test scores for the 2018 year. "Osakis was above the state average in reading, science and math," Bergquist reported. "I am really proud of the teachers and staff and the kids." Bergquist also reported Osakis's graduation rate is high above the state average. The Osakis graduation rate is 94 percent, compared to the Minnesota graduation rate of 82.7 percent.
A refunding of Osakis School District's outstanding bonds was approved by the School Board at its Monday, Sept. 10 meeting, following a presentation by Shelby McQuay, municipal advisor for Ehlers, Inc. The refunding process will pay off the Feb. 24, 2009 district issued General Obligation School Building Bonds in the amount of $5,740,000, and in the process reduce the interest rate, thus saving the taxpayers an estimated $420,000. "The saving goes directly back to the taxpayers for the debt levy," McQuay told the board.
Osakis Public Schools had a big jump in enrollment numbers on opening day, according to Superintendent Randy Bergquist's report to the School Board on Monday, Sept. 10. "The first day we had 839 students enroll in school," Bergquist said. "One student left, and as of today, we have 838 students. On June 1, there were 800 students. I am so excited! It is awesome that we have another 38 students in our school district!" Bergquist commented, "Nice job to the staff, students and administration for making this such a tremendous place to learn!"
The Osakis School District is taking a hard look into the future needs of its facilities. During an hour and a half work session on Sept. 10, the Osakis School Board met with representatives Jacqui Coldman and Luke Pfotenhauer of InGensa, a Plymouth consulting firm that works with school districts to renovate and improve their facilities. Board members reviewed a detailed three-page spreadsheet listing the deficiencies on the district facilities including interior, mechanical, electrical, site, exterior and educational adequacy issues.