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Board hears new money woes

With an acknowledgement of their years of teaching, the Blackduck School Board on Monday, accepted the resignations of Mark Johnson and Peggy Eggert. The board also acted to name Jeff Volk as head football coach before moving on to other agenda items that again included discussion of money problems.

The board heard from consultant Mark Bucholz on progress to date on the energy audit now underway. A $137,000 matching grant requires the program be completed by June 30, but Bucholz said the state has approved an extension for the similar study at the Kelliher School and will likely do the same for Blackduck.

Bucholz is with ESG-Energy Services Group. He said the extension, if approved by the state, would give the district an additional two months time. The study is aimed at determining steps which will result in significant and long-time savings in overall energy and fuel consumption. Changes he outlined were accompanied with a reminder to the board that proposals do not tie up the district's capitol outlay fund.

A potential $1.3 million improvement, at no cost to taxpayers, could include a new steam plant and replacement of 50-year-old piping.

Superintendent Robert Doetsch interrupted Bucholz with a reminder to the board that overall improvements needed to the building which itself is a half-century old, are estimated to cost a total of $4.5 million. "That's what it will cost to get things up to code and more important, to make it safe for our kids."

Board Chairman Dale Compton said if necessary, he'll call a special meeting of the board to go over Bucholz' recommendations.

The resignations of Johnson and Eggert were accepted, effective at the end of the school year. In his letter to the board, Johnson noted that the date is not only the end of the year, but that it marks the end of 33 years as a teacher and physical education instructor in Blackduck, but also comes on his birthday, June 3.

Eggert has taught in different classes and most recently several years in kindergarten where she said, "What kind of a job could you go to tired and possibly a little cranky, walk through the door and have a dozen little kids hug you and love you? It happens daily particularly in kindergarten."

She added that she's also been known to say that when she dies, she's sure her tombstone will read, "Guess what, Mrs. Eggert?"

In a review of good things happening, Compton acknowledged that Mollie Exner scored her 1,000th point this season to become the fourth member of a Drake's basketball team to achieve that mark.

Compton also acknowledged his recent haircut. He and teacher Jim Nissen had each said they'd have their hair cut when the other man did. Apparently both agreed the time had come and the locks were shorn. Turning the event into a fund-raiser, the trim was done and an activity fund netted something in excess of $300.