MI-B Rangers

MOUNTAIN IRON — The Mountain Iron-Buhl administration is set to restructure, with the elimination of three positions and the creation of two new ones.

Superintendent Dr. Reggie Engebritson said at Monday’s MI-B School Board working session that the rearrangement is part of a plan to find “ways to be more efficient within the district.”

The restructuring involves the elimination of the administrative assistant position held by Sheila Parentau, who “will look at retiring” at the end of June, along with reducing the number of school secretaries from two to one, Engebritson said. A clerk/receptionist position would also be eliminated.

Engebritson said a new student personnel coordinator position and a new custodian/van driver would be added.

She said she is working on job descriptions; the personnel coordinator would pick up some of the work of the administrative assistant, including handling confidential data.

The goal, she added, is “not to get rid of anyone,” but to “realign” administrative staff. The new positions will be posted internally first with the intent of filling them internally, she said.

Parentau, who has been with the district for 29 years, is the only one “who will not be returning,” the superintendent said.

She will ask for the board’s approval for the restructuring and to post for the new positions at the regular meeting on May 29.

Director Jennifer Tiedeman said she wants to make sure hires in the new positions are not overwhelmed with extra duties from the eliminated positions.

The district will also be looking to fill the position of dean of students for pre-kindergarten to grade 12 following the recent resignation of the current dean, Nickole Phipps, who is pursuing another interest.

The district will seek an individual with “strong elementary skills,” Engebritson said.

Director Chuck Bainter thanked Parentau for her many years of service with the district.

The board discussed other topics, including:

• A fee for use of the new school’s gyms. Pacesetter Sports recently expressed interest in using the gym for a basketball camp, and other groups may want to use the space, which is air-conditioned, said Chairman Jeremy Jesch. Board members said it would be a good idea to consider a fee.

• The condition of the school’s baseball field. Tiedeman posed the subject, saying she heard from parents and community members who are concerned about the condition of the field, especially when compared with the brand new sports complex at the school.

Vice Chairman Jason Gellerstedt, an assistant MI-B baseball coach, said the field is not safe for players and has not been maintained. “We just had a kid roll his ankle because of a hole,” he said. “We’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time. … If it sounds like I’m miffed, it’s because I am. … It’s time something is done.”

Jesch said “we need the baseball coaches to be involved” in looking into options for improving and maintaining the filed.

Tiedeman offered the idea of obtaining corporate sponsors. “I appreciate that we are going to look into it,” she said.

• Cassandra Hainey, executive director of the nonprofit Volunteers in Education (VinE), also gave a presentation. The program provides volunteer tutors in several districts on the Iron Range and is looking to provide services to MI-B. VinE is supported by the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota, the Northland Foundation and other sources and does not charge districts for tutoring, Hainey said.

More than 560 elementary to high school students are currently in the program, which also offers enrichment to students excelling in school. The initiative, which launched 10 years ago, has documented much academic improvement among tutored students, Hainey said.

• A public hearing on the official closure of the old high school will also be held at 6 p.m. May 21 at the Merritt Auditorium. The hearing is necessary in order to look at options for the building.


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