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Patriot Perspective articles
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School District administration and the School Board have finalized the FY23 budget (22-23), are making revisions to the FY24 budget (23-24), and are planning for the FY25 budget (24-25). Here are some highlights for each budget:
FY23: A clean audit was presented to the board with no major deficiencies. The District finished the year with a 15% unassigned fund balance, which meets the board policy.
FY24: A budget revision, which is standard practice, will be approved by the board in March. The revision accounts for additional special education cross-subsidy funding as well as budgeting for facility maintenance needs. The District is expected to have a 15% unassigned fund balance at the end of the fiscal year again.
FY25: A preliminary budget was presented to the board which included a projected fund balance within board policy and no major budget reductions.
School funding is extremely complex and varies from district to district. According to a new report by an educational funding group, SEE, the Pequot Lakes School District ranks 318 out of 328 school districts in Minnesota for per-pupil revenue funding. There are revenue streams that are available to some districts, but not the Pequot Lakes School District.
- The PLSD receives $10,936 per pupil in revenue.
- The highest per-pupil revenue for a MN District is $22,336.
- The lowest per-pupil revenue for a MN District is $10,184.
- The average per-pupil revenue for a MN District is $14,140.
- All area school districts receive more per-pupil funding than Pequot Lakes students (Staples-Motley - $15,477; Brainerd - $14,325; PRB - $13,166; and CI - $13,052).
- If the PLSD received the state average in per-pupil funding, it would add roughly $6.2 million in revenue per year.
Some of the factors included in the low per-pupil funding for the Pequot Lakes School District include the lack of an operating levy or capital projects levy, as well as some funding streams are not available to the District due to location, size, or preexisting limits. School district administration will continue to advocate through our legislative officials for more fairness in educational funding.
I Love to Read / Kindergarten Info Night
"I Love to Read" / "Kindergarten Info Night"
Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal
February is “I Love to Read” month. We are all about reading! This is a great time to share some specific reading aspects at Eagle View this 2023-24 school year. A recent Patriot Perspective from Mr. Raske introduced the elements of the READ Act put forth by the Minnesota Legislature last May. The dedicated and passionate Eagle View staff have been learning and collaborating to address reading issues ahead of this legislation.
During the 2022-23 school year, the MTSS (Multi-Tiered Supports for Success) team spent time delving into the details and impact of the six shifts for the Science of Reading. This year we have extended that study to the entire teaching staff at staff meetings through the text “Shifting the Balance”, which looks at how the six shifts impact beginning readers and more fluent readers.
By 2025, all teachers who teach reading in EC - 3rd grade are required by the READ Act to complete training. At this time, one third of the staff are finishing the LETRS training, another third are halfway through the training, and one-third are starting the training. As stated on their website, “LETRS is comprehensive professional learning designed to provide early childhood and elementary educators and administrators with deep knowledge to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading.”
This learning has been impactful and some of the best training our teachers have received. The impact is becoming evident with the shift to explicit phonics and phonemic awareness instruction for all of our students. The consistent practices and vocabulary are having a direct impact on student mastery and confidence in their learning as well as the collective efficacy of staff in their teaching practices.
Another shift Eagle View made this fall to align with the shifts for the Science of Reading was to utilize UFLI for phonemic and phonics instruction for kindergarten, first, and second grades. This program is very similar in scope and sequence to Benchmark Advance, yet is different through explicit whole-class instruction. Staff have trained and meet monthly to ensure consistency in teaching the sounds, writing the letters, and blending sounds to make words with decodable readers. The UFLI program is also one of the three recommended by the READ Act for foundational learning. READ Act Info can be found at https://education.mn.gov/MDE/dse/READ/
Leaping into Reading
Eagle View will be doing another School-Wide Read! Thanks to our generous PTA, EV students have received a Friendship According to Humphrey book and a leaping frog. A variety of community members from Pequot Lakes, Breezy Point, Jenkins, Ideal, and Crosslake are recording chapters for students to enjoy daily over three weeks. Thank you to all of these individuals and PTA for supporting the love of reading!
EV Title 1 Family Game Night
EV hosted a Title I Family Math and Reading Night on February 1. Activities included estimating jars, book character walk, Moby Max, book exchange, Make 10, bingo, Vowel Owls, splash games, Jenga, and book “tastings.” Special sessions on Understanding UFLI by Mrs. Ziedler, Flashlight Reading in the Yurt with Mrs. Trottier, and Feeling the Beat with Mrs. Bowman were a hit!
Kindergarten Info Night
Families with a possible incoming Patriot Kindergartener (2024-25) should have received a mailing about information night on February 29. If you have an incoming Kindergartener or if you want more information about Kindergarten or Patriot Academy, please contact the EV office at 218-562-6100.
Implementation of the READ Act Legislation at Pequot Lakes Schools
“Implementation of the READ Act Legislation at Pequot Lakes Schools”
Travis Raske, Director of Teaching and Learning
This school year ushers in new legislation in regard to reading instruction. This legislation, which took effect on July 1, 2023, is designed to ensure that every child in Minnesota reads at or above grade level starting from kindergarten. It replaces the Read Well by Third Grade law and introduces a comprehensive strategy to support the diverse learning needs of our students.
By the 2026-2027 school year, districts must provide evidence-based reading instruction through a focus on student mastery of foundational reading skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency, as well as the development of oral language, vocabulary, and reading comprehension skills. Students must receive evidence-based instruction that is proven to effectively teach children to read.
A noteworthy aspect of the READ Act is the approach to teacher professional development aligned to evidence-based curriculum and instructional practices. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), conducted a thorough review of K-5 Literacy Curriculum and PreK-12 teacher training programs as mandated by the READ Act. Through the review process, five curriculum options and three professional development programs were recommended.
Pequot Lakes Schools has an outstanding staff whom most elementary teachers have already adopted and are implementing these practices. We have teams in place reviewing district reading curriculum, selecting resources aligned with the READ Act, and creating opportunities for staff development. Well ahead of the implementation requirement, the Eagle View campus has two-thirds of its staff already immersed in the 100+ hour LETRS training. Funding has been allocated through the legislation, but it is not fully funded. The district is aware of the funding deficit and is committed to providing the highest quality literacy instruction, embracing this initiative.
We are optimistic as preliminary data comes in, that this shift will provide all students with opportunities to excel in literacy. Teaching children how to read is fundamental to their overall development and academic success.
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School District is in the process of updating our Strategic Plan. An initial survey was completed by students, staff, parents, and community members in May 2023. A total of 112 staff, parents/guardians, and community members completed the initial survey as well as 977 students in grades 3-12. The feedback from the survey was compiled and reviewed for common themes.
Since the beginning of the school year, various groups have reviewed the survey results and created a framework for the new strategic plan. The groups reviewing the feedback and creating the framework include middle school student leaders, high school student leadership group, the District Advisory Committee, and the District Leadership Team.
Replacing the previous mission and vision is a new commitment statement: A Place to Connect, Learn, & Thrive. While the focus of this commitment statement reflects our dedication to students, it is also meant to apply to our commitment to staff, parents, and community members. This updated commitment statement builds upon the importance of building connections first, then ensuring learning occurs in order to ultimately thrive.
Four unique pillars were chosen to represent our areas of focus for the next 3-5 years.
Welcoming, Safe, & Supportive: Maintain a culture where all can connect, learn, and thrive
Connections: Provide engaging opportunities for students, staff, and the community
Personal Growth & Success: Cultivate ownership in one’s growth and achievement
Facilities & Grounds: Create spaces to connect, learn, and thrive
The next step in the process is to consider and adopt specific goals and metrics to measure growth in each of the four pillar areas. After goals and metrics have been adopted, strategies to achieve the goals will then be researched and implemented. Thank you to our school-community for the engagement and assistance in this process.
Long Lake Conservation Center Experience
“Long Lake Conservation Center Experience”
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
In November, 6th-grade students at Pequot Lakes Middle School had an awesome experience attending Long Lake Conservation Center in Palisade, MN. Nestled against the shoreline of Long Lake and its expansive bog ecosystem, our students were immersed in a two-day field trip exploring our natural world. From the sensation of bouncing up and down on a peat bog, to the team-building activities associated with survival shelter development, our middle school students had the opportunity to unplug from their digital world and dive into a deeper understanding of the natural resources in our region. While at the camp, they were also exposed to the concept of personal responsibility through reduced food waste to sustainable decision-making. From Kitchen Patrol (KP) to “family-style” food service focused on consuming all that went on our plates, our students took an active role in understanding the foundational concepts of stewardship.
Living in the Brainerd Lakes Area, our students don’t always understand the importance of what is occurring “upstream” in their watersheds. Middle school students can struggle to make the connection between our pristine waters and how something like a bog in Aitkin County could be directly linked with a beautiful day on the lake wakeboarding on Big Sandy or walleye fishing on Mille Lacs. We are hopeful that, through this experience, our students can start to see the correlation. If not, they will certainly remember squeezing sphagnum moss and drinking bog water!
Beyond experiential learning about the ecology of our region, our kids expanded their understanding of the influence of our indigenous cultures on our State. While on the trip, our students participated in storytelling activities and short one-act theater experiences, helping our students to expand their understanding of the Anishinaabe’s influence on the Central Minnesota region.
Undeniable was the unique opportunity to learn about Minnesota's ecology and indigenous history while surrounded by nature. What is also unique is a group of educators willing to take time away from their families on behalf of their students. Taking this trip in the Fall, as opposed to our previous efforts during the Winter, the 2023 trip was also focused on “team building.” In this setting, where students and staff were together for 30 continuous hours, we took significant steps toward a better understanding of one another. From laughter and play during downtime, to staff and students eating family-style meals together, we are confident that our trip had a positive impact beyond what we might be able to create in the traditional classroom.
Our Pequot Lakes Middle School team would be remiss if we didn’t also take a moment to celebrate our supportive community. Our PLMS Patriots would like to extend a sincere thank you to Ideal Community Service Organization, Pelican Lakes Conservation Club, Nisswa Lions, Pelican Lakes Association, The Patriot Foundation, and others. We are proud to say that, between gracious donations, district support, and scholarships from generous families from the Class of 2030, students were able to participate in this experience at a significantly reduced rate. We are truly blessed to live in a community that values rich and diverse learning opportunities for kids.
Thank you, Patriots!
FY23 Final Audit Results
“FY23 Final Audit Results”
Heidi Hagen, Finance Director
The annual audit of the school's finances revealed key insights. The audit confirmed that the district’s financial processes and records were accurately maintained and complied with applicable laws and accounting standards.
During the year, revenues and expenses were revised to better align with actual performance. The board policy for unassigned fund balance increased from 12% to 15% of expenditures; this policy update aligned with current practices. The District ended the 2022-2023 school year with a 15% unassigned balance, which provides approximately two months of operating expenses.
One audit finding is related to internal controls given the district's smaller size; this is not uncommon for smaller districts. Overall, the audit demonstrated the district's strong financial management and healthy reserves. Moving forward, enhancing internal controls will be an area of focus to ensure robust financial oversight.
The dedicated work of the district office staff made for a productive and successful year-end.
Volleyball Team Kudos
“Pequot Lakes Volleyball Team”
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
Congratulations to the Pequot Lakes Volleyball Team on their 2023 MSHSL State Championship; the first volleyball state championship in school history. The volleyball team was runner-up at the 2022 MSHSL State Championship. As Superintendent, I wanted to share my thoughts and appreciation for the following groups of people:
Team Thank you for showing us how to play together and get through challenging times. Being down 0-2 sets in the state tournament quarterfinals and semifinals, you trusted each other and played together. Thank you for trusting the coaching staff to make decisions on what is best for the team. Player roles may have changed from game to game, yet the positive attitudes and team-first approach were constant. Thank you for representing our school-community with class.
Coaches Thank you for the time and extraordinary commitment to developing our student-athletes as people and volleyball players. The constant care you displayed for every player on the roster was evident. Thank you for being a consistent example to our volleyball players and community of what caring and outstanding leadership looks like. Finally, thank you for being the best volleyball coaching staff in the State of Minnesota, as the tactical moves and game strategy were more than anyone knows.
Parents Thank you for supporting the team and your child throughout the season. With the talent on this year’s team and a roster full of seniors, you were able to trust the coaching staff and appreciate the team approach.
Boosterthon, Conferences, Veterans Day, Oh My
“Boosterthon, Conferences, Veterans Day, Oh My”
Melissa Hesch, Eagle View Elementary Principal
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Phil Jackson was very accurate with this quote, as it takes a team in all areas of life - your family team, team of friends, colleagues, or sports teams - your people. In this Patriot Perspective, we are celebrating some excellence in teamwork.
First off, we want to say congratulations to Eli Hall, Calia Chaney, and the PLS Cross Country Team on their successful season. We also want to recognize Patriot Football for another amazing season. Last week, we sent off the Patriot Volleyball team with all of our Eagle View Patriot energy and cheers (it’s quite the volume). We wished them luck as they were off to represent Pequot Lakes at the State Volleyball Tournament. Go Patriots!
There’s truly never any downtime at EV. That has never been more true than the past couple of weeks for the EV team. We rolled back from Fall Break kicking off the PTA Boosterthon fundraiser on October 23rd with a building goal of $25,000.
This year’s Boosterthon theme was World Changer Workshop. Lessons included identifying a need, coming up with a plan, gathering a team, launching the plan, and then gritting it out. Positive life lessons to remind us all that we can each make a difference. Sometimes, making a difference isn’t a big thing; it can also be a small act. After a week of activities and incentives, the Boosterthon wrapped up with a Glow Run on October 31st, held inside this year (due to snow).
As stated by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” There is no doubt that we have world changers here in ISD 186 and at Eagle View. Thank you to our families, community organizations, and businesses for your support of our school and district. With your help and support, Eagle View surpassed the goal of $25,000 to over $40,000. EV earned the reward of going to the movies! Other special rewards for earners go to the 4th grade for Top Grade, and Top Class is Mr. Kristenson’s 3rd grade class.
Following the Glow Run, families were invited to confer with classroom teachers on November 1st & 2nd. There is a unique and special partnership that is fostered by a team of parents, teachers, and students in an elementary setting. Conferences are an opportunity to celebrate each student’s positives and make a plan for areas of concern. We appreciate your attendance at conferences and your partnership throughout the year.
On Friday, November 10th, all of EV will be honoring Veterans Day by participating in the Pequot Lakes High School Veterans Day program. Thank you to each and every Veteran for your service and sacrifice.
We hope you all take the time to celebrate “your people,” your team, and if you have a chance, send the EV staff a thank you for all they do for EVery student, EVery day!
Benefits of Granite Ridge Conference
“Benefits of Granite Ridge Conference”
Byron Westrich, Activities Director
Pequot Lakes Public School has moved into the Granite Ridge Conference and is providing more opportunities for our Patriots to compete in a variety of activities. The conference has many additional activities that our previous students were not able to participate in. Playing similar-sized schools has given our students more levels of play that weren't previously possible.
We are only three months into the new conference move but we have already found more chances for our students to compete. The best example might be in the sport of volleyball. Last season, only half of our opponents had four levels of volleyball like we do. This year, every conference contest has had four levels or teams. Some schools even gave us an extra set or two against the C squad level, giving more students playing time. In the middle-level volleyball programs, all of our conference schools played two teams with each grade. On many nights, we were playing six sets against each opponent. This gave the 50 girls we have participating in junior high volleyball more playing time. Tennis had a similar experience of teams having the same number of athletes. More playing time, more competition, and similar facilities will help our already strong programs to improve, grow, and compete at a higher level.
Fine arts activities offered in the GRC are One Act, Speech, Knowledge Bowl, Band, Choir, and Visual Arts. Previously, we had no conference opportunities in any of these activities. In January, our school will host the One Act festival one week before the subsection competition. The experience our school will have prior to entering section competition can be a major benefit. Band and Choir students can participate in a practice and produce a concert with the other seven conference schools, which will help our programs to grow along with allowing another opportunity to perform in front of others. Knowledge Bowl only had three regular season competitions last year, but will now have another date to compete with conference teams. These opportunities will give our students the ability to make connections with other students who have similar interests, and will provide great learning experiences that they can’t get from the classroom setting.
On November 1, all of our program advisors and coaches will meet during an activities summit. This night will provide a great chance for Patriots to connect, network and work with opposing advisors and coaches; bringing the coaches and advisors together to discuss how we can create the best possible experience for our children. Advisors and coaches will have the opportunity to review conference bylaws and can make suggestions on how we might be able to improve what we do as a conference. Coaches and advisors will also review varsity schedules, junior high schedules, awards, and procedures.
Looking ahead to winter and spring activities, we will find they will also bring similar opportunities as those experienced by our fall programs. Boys and girls basketball will have two levels of play in the middle level. Our C team will have the ability to play at the same time as our junior varsity, rather than playing earlier in the day. This will alleviate the need to depart from school earlier and reduce the transportation needed for each contest. Track season will give us two field houses to run indoor meets when a late spring arrival keeps us from competing outdoors. The GRC will also give us more track meets to help with scheduling needs.
We are excited for all of the new opportunities the Granite Ridge Conference will provide for Pequot Lakes students. We will find the GRC will continue to provide a better experience for our student-athletes.
An Ounce of Prevention
“An Ounce of Prevention”
Tracy Princivalli, RN, LSN, NCSN - School District Nurse
Benjamin Franklin famously advised fire-threatened Philadelphians in 1736 that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the case of vaccine-preventable diseases, the concept is the same.
According to MN law, to enroll in child care, early childhood programs, and school in Minnesota, children must show they’ve had the required immunizations or file a legal exemption. Parents may file a medical exemption signed by a health care provider or a non-medical exemption signed by a parent/guardian and notarized in lieu of the vaccines.
Schools are also required by the state of Minnesota to complete a report summarizing the immunization status of all students K-12 enrolled in school – the Annual Immunization Status Report (AISR). For Pequot Lakes, it is the responsibility of the District Nurse to complete and submit the AISR by December 1 of each year. Pre-pandemic (2017-2018 school year), the immunization rates of our kindergarten students who were fully vaccinated were between 97-99%.
As a result of missed primary care visits and vaccine hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, childhood and adolescent vaccination rates have dropped significantly. In the most recent data from the Minnesota Department of Health, nearly 30% of our six-year-old students are not up to date on the vaccines required for kindergarten, and nearly 30% of our thirteen-year-olds are missing at least one Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis) and the MenACWY vaccine that prevents four different strains of the meningococcal bacteria that causes Meningitis. Those percentages represent children who are vulnerable to diseases that can be debilitating, or life-threatening, but also can be prevented.
The MN Department of Health has provided an immunization tool kit for School Nurses to utilize to overcome the immunization gaps and become compliant with the laws that keep our students safe at school. Those tools will be implemented in the health offices at Eagle View Elementary School and the Pequot Lakes High School and Middle School in order to ensure our compliance with state law and our responsibility to our students. For families that cannot, or choose not to vaccinate their children for medical, personal, or religious reasons, a medical objection signed by a medical provider, or a notarized conscientious objection form is required in lieu of the vaccinations.
Together with parents and guardians, we have the opportunity to regain our safe vaccination levels and prevent a recurrence of childhood illnesses that have essentially been eradicated. Equally important is to have the proper objection forms on file to protect those students who are not fully immunized in case of a breakout of disease in our area. Please check with your child's health care provider or your child’s School Nurse to ensure they are up to date with their vaccination series, or that we have the proper documentation on file to excuse the vaccination requirement. In the case of vaccine-preventable illnesses, a mL injection for disease prevention can be worth a lifetime of disease protection.
Setting Goals at PLMS
“Setting Goals at PLMS”
Mike O'Neil, Middle School Principal
Goal setting is a way of life in the public school setting. Districts set goals, buildings set goals, teachers set goals, and we challenge our students to do so as well. Pequot Lakes Middle School enters the 2023-24 school year with our eyes focused on improvement in three core areas.
Our first goal on the 5-8 campus is associated with helping our grade-level cohorts to increase the trajectory of their academic success. What we mean by that is, research tells us that for every day that goes by on the calendar, students will grow. Point toward the impact of maturation, or learning to navigate the world around us; everyone becomes a bit more wise with every day that passes. Our academic goal for PLMS in 2023-24 is set to increase student achievement in each cohort’s (e.g. the graduating class of 2031) Math and Reading scores on both our statewide MCA and also on our in-house assessment series called the STAR test. We hope to create a positive inflection point of 3% growth, or more, in their achievement through intense support during Homeroom and best first instructional practices in our core classroom settings.
The second goal for this school year is anchored in some feedback our students shared last spring. In polling our student body, 87% of our students report that they feel supported by our staff. Though we feel great about this data, we aim to improve this metric to 90% when we ask that same question later this year. A more concerning data point came from the same question with one word adjusted. When asked the prompt about “I feel supported by my peers,” our student body poll showed that only 63% of our kids feel supported by their classmates. We can blame adolescent development; we can blame phones or social media; we can point the finger in a multitude of directions. Regardless, this data is something that we need to work on. In response, PLMS is doubling down on our existing structures built around character education, and adding some new components to help this number to climb to what we hope will be 70% or more in the spring.
Our last goal focuses on the strategic use of our Homeroom period of the day. The Middle School Model is anchored in a portion of the day called “Homeroom” or “Advisory.” By design, this time period is intended to create time and space for students and staff to make a strong connection.
From their interests and hobbies to their learning profile, it is our hope that this 25-minute period of each day gives kids what they need to be successful. In 2023-24, we are looking to revamp the student experience in Homeroom. From growing the love of reading through quiet reading in a book of student choice for all, to diving in on a reteaching of a Math lesson a kid didn’t quite get the first time, we are hoping to make this window of the school day even more impactful than it already is.
The Pequot Lakes Schools take deep pride in growing our students. We unite with our parents and guardians to accept the enormous role that we both play in the development of the kids in our community.
GLAPA's 40th Season: A look back at our start
“GLAPA's 40th Season: A look back at our start”
Joell Tvedt, Community Education Director
This Fall marks the 40th season of Pequot Lakes Community Theatre. We are kicking off this milestone with a very special production called Enchanted April. Opening the evening of Thursday, October 5 in the Pequot Lakes High School Auditorium, this charming, romantic comedy is the story of two London housewives feeling lost in the shadows of marriage and forgotten in the rush of the 1920s post-war society. Together with a pair of difficult upper-class women, they pool their savings to rent a villa in Italy for a ladies-only holiday.
Forty years is a long time for a community theatre to thrive. Just think about the dedication, commitment, and number of volunteer hours, not to mention the tens of thousands of people who have enjoyed our shows!
To celebrate this historic occasion, we have brought back some of the key people who were there from the beginning. Cumulatively, with hundreds of years of performing arts experience, the cast and crew involved with this production are simply magnificent! In addition, we will be showcasing costumes, favorite memories, and photos from the past 40 seasons throughout the run of Enchanted April.
Our community theatre has sparked countless interest in young actors over the years. It has been the place where people have gotten their start in theater and honed their artistic craft. It has proven to be a place where our community finds quality entertainment right in their backyard.
Getting its start back in 1984, the Pequot Lakes Community Theatre was born after conversations about the high school auditorium being underutilized. A relatively new auditorium at the time, built in 1979, it only made sense to fill the space with something that would benefit the community. So, the school district contacted Judy Larsen and others who put together the very first Pequot Lakes Community Theatre production called Bits of Broadway.
In the beginning, actors purchased and made their own costumes. Directors paid for their own shows. Set supplies and props were donated by the community and stored in people's homes and outbuildings. Over time, the school district was able to offer storage for these items. Through community and individual donations, along with grants from the Five Wings Arts Council and other entities, our community theater eventually had a small budget, allowing production teams to be hired for each show and show-specific items to be purchased.
As the idea of a community theater evolved, contract shows with various artists helped to fill the auditorium. This is where the name Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts (GLAPA) emerged. We were more than just a theater, offering up to three theater productions each year, along with three to four contracted shows. People were coming from all over the area and state to enjoy the entertainment we provided. Not only were they coming for the show, but they were shopping in our town and eating in our restaurants.
As I reflect on the history of our community theatre and write this article, I am purposely leaving out the names of those involved in getting us to where we are today. There have simply been so many individuals who have positively made an impact on the success of our community theatre over the years and I don’t want to leave anyone out. If you are reading this and you are one of those people, THANK YOU. Your time, generosity, and commitment to the arts in this community is invaluable. Without your dedication and passion for performing arts, our community theater would not have made it to this remarkable milestone.
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School District has launched Patriot-Vision.org, a website to provide our community with information on the upcoming capital projects levy and facilities bond referendum. The website provides:
– A detailed list of improvements to support outstanding education and a positive learning experience.
– Information on the community-led process that helped inform the school board’s recommendation for the proposed plan.
– An overview of the plan and the two ballot questions the district is asking voters to consider on November 7.
– A tax calculator to determine your estimated monthly tax impact.
– Voting information and additional resources such as the site improvement plan and frequently asked questions.
A question that I have received from community members is, “What are the specific projects included in the bond referendum?” Below are some highlights of the projects:
Safety & Security - There is roughly $21 million budgeted for projects including roofing, HVAC units (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), electrical/mechanical system upgrades, sidewalks, enhanced secure entrances and door modifications at all campus facility entrances, moving the high school office to a more central location, fencing around playgrounds, improved zoning and a sidewalk from Oak Street to secondary campus by the baseball field, addressing County Road 11 concerns at the Eagle View site, and reconfiguring parking and traffic flow at both the elementary and secondary campus. Upgrades to the kitchen areas would include a remodeling of the secondary site serving area to increase efficiency and flow of student traffic during breakfast and lunch, and adding food storage space (freezer, cooler and dry) at both the elementary and secondary sites.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) - There is roughly $9 million budgeted for CTE projects that include new spaces for robotics, technology, woods/metals and culinary arts with updates to the current FACS (Family and Consumer Science) and woods/metals spaces.
Educational Upgrades - There is roughly $35 million budgeted for educational updates that include new Early Childhood spaces at Eagle View, additional classrooms at the grades 5-12 campus, a new 750-seat auditorium, remodeling and expanding of the grades 5-12 commons area, and a middle school multi-purpose area. Also included in the plan are updated outdoor spaces that include two new softball fields and two new baseball fields built off-site, resurfacing the track, relocating fields and track zones to better utilize outdoor spaces, a new tennis court, and new bleachers around the track.
I encourage everyone to visit Patriot-Vision.org to learn more about how the capital projects levy and bond referendum would invest in our students and our schools. Thank you for the continued support.
MN Free School Meals Program
“MN Free School Meals Program”
Patty Buell, Food Services Director
On March 17, 2023, Governor Walz signed the MN Free School Meals bill into law. The MN Free School Meals Program provides state reimbursement to schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program so that students can have one school breakfast and one school lunch at school per day at no cost. In simple terms, it means every student receives a free breakfast and lunch every day!
Even though meals are free for students, it is important for families to complete the Application for Educational Benefits form. Applications for Educational Benefits determine how much funding your child’s school receives for educational programs and supports. Additionally, eligible families can qualify for other benefits including waived deposits for Chromebooks, reduced sports fees, reduced fees for community education programs/classes as well as reduced fees for early childhood programs/classes.
Forms can be found on the school website (Departments>Food Services) and on the school’s student information system using your Infinite Campus Parent Portal. Paper versions are available in each school office.
Please fill out a form to help our schools receive funding and possibly qualify your family for additional benefits.
Feel free to reach out to Patty Buell with any questions at: email@example.com
Kurt Stumpf, Superintendent
The Pequot Lakes School Board is continuing to explore options in formulating a long-term facility plan. The main purpose of the facilities planning process is to ensure that the district has a comprehensive long-range facilities plan in order to be fiscally responsible and to meet the needs of our students. At the board meeting on May 15, 2023, the school board voted to direct the Superintendent to formulate a recommendation for a date, scope, amount, financing, and ballot language for a facilities bond election. The school board will spend the next board meetings discussing the recommendation. Below is an overview of the facility process timeline.
January 2022 - The Pequot Lakes School District published a Request for Proposals for facility planning. There were two main components of the facilities planning: (1) Facilities Assessment; and (2) Long-Range Facility Plan.
March - April 2022 - Six firms officially submitted a proposal in response to the RFP. Three firms were interviewed by a district committee of nine people, which included students, staff and community members, and a school board member. After the interview, reference checks and contract negotiations, the school district partnered with ATSR, an architectural and engineering firm.
May 2022 - ATSR representatives met with students from grades 3 - 12 as well as teams of staff from early childhood, elementary, middle school, and high school. All staff were also given the opportunity to answer facility survey questions.
June 2022 - August 2022 - ATSR engineers and architects conducted site visits evaluating the current conditions of all aspects of Pequot Lakes School District facilities.
August 2022 - ATSR presented their findings on facility maintenance and prioritized the maintenance needs based on the current buildings and facilities. There were about 7M in high priority, 12M in medium priority, and 3M in low priority needs.
September 2022 - The Facilities Planning Team (FPT) kicked off a 5-meeting series to review the current facility assessments and to work through a process in order to prioritize current and future facility needs. The FPT was charged with providing a recommendation for a long-range comprehensive plan for district-wide priorities and baseline needs for our facilities to the school board.
October 2022 - Hazel Reinhart presented an enrollment study to the school board.
January 2023 - Amelia Reynolds and Jobey Tvedt, two Pequot Lakes School District students on the FPT, presented the committee’s recommendation to the school board, which included 35 items ranging from maintenance needs, updating some current facility areas, and building some classrooms and an auditorium.
At the regular school board meeting on January 23, 2023, Michael Hart from PMA Securities presented financial information. PMA Securities is the District's financial advisor. The presentation included a review of the current tax base, outstanding bond debt, and options and information for facility upgrades.
March 2023 - The Pequot Lakes School Board received an update at the board meeting regarding the FPT recommendations. Additional follow-up information was requested from school board members on various aspects of the facilities plan. The school board meeting involved discussion only and no formal school board actions were taken.
April 2023 - At the regular board meeting on April 17, 2023, the School Board received updated cost estimates for the proposed facility improvements and updated financial information.
May 2023 - At the board work session on May 1, 2023, the School Board received a report on a Capital Projects Levy option and updated financial information prepared by Michael Hart, PMA Director.
Community members are encouraged to visit the District’s website to learn more about the facilities planning process (www.isd186.org → District → Facilities Study). Thank you for the continued support of Pequot Lakes School District students.