WHA will be adding a third multi-purpose baseball/softball field adjacent to existing sports fields on Tower Hill, the school board decided Feb. 11.

The new field will be created in unused space between two existing ball fields. It will be used by WHA teams and also the community.

Improvements, such as outbuildings, fencing, walkways and dugouts, will be funded by a lease levy agreement with First National Bank North of Walker for $150,000. Over the next 15 years, WHA will make payments to First National of $13,200 per year, totaling $198,000. The levy WHA approves next November will include the $13,200 payment.

The board also approved re-funding $3,310,000 in general obligation bonds at a lower interest rate, through a private placement with First National Bank North.

A resolution formally authorizing the re-funding could be ready for final approval at the March meeting. The re-funding saves the district roughly $50,000 in interest payments over the remaining six years of the bond, which could offset other possible levies.

In her report, PreK-5 Principal Jill McGowan congratulated Cindy Alto and Ben Offerman as WHA’s nominees for Teachers of Excellence; both will be recognized at the 2019 Educators of Excellence Banquet May 8 at Grand View Lodge, Nisswa.

She also congratulated Ruth Brueland as WHA’s nominee for Paraprofessional of Excellence. Brueland will also be entered into Region 5’s nominations for Paraprofessional of Excellence, which will also be announced at the 2019 Banquet.

Grades 6-12 Principal Ryan Jensen reported that WHA’s entire staff participated in professional development at Sourcewell in Staples Jan. 18, with Dr. Phil Warwick, centered on WHA’s High Reliability Schools work.

PreK-5 enrollment as of Feb. 1 was 386, down nine from January; and grades 6-12, 403, up two from January’s report.

Activities and Community Ed Director Travis Hensch noted the success of WHA’s nine-team wrestling tournament held Feb. 1. Things went so well, WHA may add a team or two for next year’s tournament.

Community Ed’s upcoming Women’s Expo is March 1-2, beginning with a Friday night dinner and motivational speaker at the Chase; and Saturday’s vendor show and breakout sessions at the Leech Lake Event Center (formerly Blue Water Lodge).

As part of the monthly High Reliability Schools “Stories of Success” newsletter, Karrie Ehlenfeldt noted that high school staff has incorporated a new set of grades into report cards this semester. Behavior grades will document each child’s behavior in categories of “ready, respectful, responsible.” These behaviors are skills a child needs to be successful not only in the classroom but in the workforce, college and beyond.

In other matters, the board approved a pay equity report for WHA staff, which is conducted every three to five years, and a lane change from BA to BA+10 for Kellie Morehouse.

It tabled until the March meeting discussions of Ehlers and Associates’ proposal for operating referendum services; an operating referendum timeline; and a proposal for survey research of school district residents by Morris Leatherman Co.

The consent agenda included approval of Stacey Barrick, high school para; and seniority lists for paraprofessionals, kitchen staff, bus drivers and custodians.

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