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Zea to quit, four board seats open

Before engaging in an extended review of school activity ticket prices, Blackduck School Board members learned Monday there will be two members not seeking re-election this year. Two others will also be on the November ballot.

Larry Zea, who also serves as board treasurer, informed the board he will not seek another term. Earlier, Bob Stroeing, who had served on the board before, was named to fill a vacancy on the board. Stroeing, said he would fill the vacancy but would not run for election to complete the full term of Pat Brown, who resigned several months earlier.

The election to fill those seats will also list current members Mark Sparby and chairman Dale Compton, both whom are expected to seek another term.

The discussion on admission prices was resolved with a decision to eliminate the free admission for seniors and charge all adults $3 per event, rather than the $5 currently, but to leave student admissions at $1 and season pass prices unchanged. Activities director Theresa Rabe said $4,200 in scholarships during the year just ended provided support for activity fees for students needing financial assistance.

The board agreed to hire Tammy Depew as the teacher after agreeing to a third kindergarten class in the coming year, a minimum of 50 students the level at which the board felt the third class necessary.

A presentation by Paul DH Pederson of Eagan preceded formal approval of the change from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Health Partners affective July 1. The change will provide additional options for school teachers and staff in health plans including health savings accounts.

As explained by Pederson, everyone covered will have options, and even with health coverage costs rising, there'll be a savings this next year and an increase of no more than 10 percent the following year and no more than 12 percent the year after.

Reviewing the expected bricks-and-mortar bond issue on the Aug. 10 ballot, the board directed superintendent Bob Doetsch to plan public meetings July 22 and Aug. 5. Both evening meetings will begin at 7 p.m. in the school multi-purpose room.

The meeting was conducted by vice-chairman Grant Mistic in the absence of chairman Dale Compton.

Mistic extended the board's congratulations to Teacher of the Year Peggy Eggert and Friend of Education Tammy Vernlund.

Also recognized was the work of a group of boys -- Tyler Wentworth, Ryan Dobmeier, Lucas Richardson and Corey Stulz. They designed a solar heating panel that will be used at Camp Rabideau this summer to help heat the greenhouse there. With the help of math instructor Rick Olhava, the boys designed a passive solar air collector.

It produced 27,000 BTUs, easily outdistancing one designed by a Bemidji team producing only a modest 2,000 BTUs.

Before adjourning, the board went into a closed session to discuss data privacy issues.