The need for security upgrades in the Mabel-Canton school building was discussed by both Superintendent Mike Moriarty and Principal Jeff Nolte in their reports to the board at the Jan. 22 regular board meeting.

In response to the recent events in the news, possible ways to increase security in the building and also possible funding options have been explored by the school administrators.

One option considered was the installation of a buzzer system which would be compatible with the existing camera system. There was one quote for this system presented in the amount of $1,939.

This system would require that visitors to the school be identified before admittance by school office staff. The additional workload for office staff was discussed as well as the possible hours of increased security. Early in the day admittance would be unchanged as well as after class hours, but the buzzer system would potentially be operational during regularly scheduled classroom hours.

The impact on parents and regular school visitors was also discussed.

The school staff currently has entrance fobs, which would be compatible with any security system proposed.

The need for additional cameras was also discussed. Potential locations within the school were mentioned for additional cameras. The need for the purchase of cameras that would be compatible with the existing system was also discussed.

One quote had been obtained some time ago for outer and interior camera and system upgrades, including additional recording capabilities to increase security at the school.

The camera upgrade would most likely need to be addressed in next year's budget, with Moriarty stating that the expected cost would be around $14,000.

Other budget items discussed were the replacement of hardware on the gymnasium doors, expected to cost between $12,000 to $13,000, potential replacement of the school van and replacement of the floor in the science room.

New board member installed

Numerous first meeting of the year items were addressed at the January meeting. Installation of new board member Mark Wiedeman was the first order of business, followed by election of board officers.

Mary Kuhn remains as board chairman. Vice chairman continues to be Chris Loppnow. The treasurer position will be filled by Troy Soiney and Crystal Adkins was elected as board clerk.

Board salaries remained unchanged, board officers receiving $850, directors $750 and $40 for each additional meeting.

The day and time of the monthly meeting remains as the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the school board room.

Committee assignments were approved.

The slate of designates was also approved, with the News-Record as official newspaper, Bank of the West and First Southeast Bank in Canton as depositories. Media outlets for school communications were approved, unchanged with KQYB, KNEI, KTTC, WIZM, KDEC, WKBT, WXOW, KIMT and KROC listed as official communication channels.

Superintendent search

Following the appointments and general housekeeping items standard at the first meeting of the year, extensive discussion took place regarding the search for a replacement for Superintendent Moriarty due to his upcoming retirement from his position with Mabel-Canton.

There was a review of potential candidates, presented by number rather than name to protect their identity. Moriarty suggested that the potential candidates should either have current licensure or be able to be licensed and have pertinent experience in order to meet the district's needs.

It was decided to contact two applicants for interviews, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31. All board members will be present for the interviews as well as outgoing Superintendent Moriarty.

It was also noted that the business manager position has been posted.

Principal report

Nolte discussed the potential expansion of the computer program to include 45 additional computers for the senior class and incoming freshman students, with additional computers to possibly be made available the following year to the freshman class.

Expansion of the nook program in the elementary grades was also a goal presented to the board. Nolte stated that the proposal had been given to the Mabel Telephone Company for consideration. If approval for some assistance with the funding of the project is given, the cost to the district would be reduced.

Nolte also voiced appreciation for the support of the Mabel Telephone Company for their ongoing support in expanding the access to technology in the district by placing equipment in the hands of the students.

Nolte also led some discussion regarding the current cell phone policy. Nolte stated he felt there is some trend towards relaxing policy and expanding appropriate usage of cell phones within the school. Responsible use and structural scheduling of cell phones within the school day were discussed; no action was taken on this issue.

Other business

• Leave requests were granted for Tina Swenson, who had requested five weeks of maternity leave, and for Heather Kleiboer for five unpaid personal days, from March 5 - 12.

• The resolution directing the administration to present staff and program reductions proposals for the 2013-14 school year was approved. This resolution grants the principal and superintendent to make staffing changes. The recommendations would be presented at the February meeting and any potential reductions or staff changes would then be brought to the board meeting in March for approval.

• Moriarty also reminded the board that the principal's contract has not been completed for the current year.

• It was noted that there is reading improvement needed at the elementary level. The addition of approximately 18 hours per week to be filled by RTI is expected to help boost the reading skills in the elementary classrooms. Title funds will be used to fund the additional hours.

• The change of the regular scheduled meeting in March was approved. The meeting will be held on March 26, at 7 in the board room.