Supt. Ness: School board reorganization

The Fergus Falls School District’s School Board held their annual reorganization meeting at 5 pm on Monday, January 8, 2018 in the Otter Community Room at Kennedy Secondary School.

Officers elected were Chairperson Melanie Cole; Vice Chairperson Matt Lemke; Clerk Blaine Danielson; and Treasurer Natalie Knutson. The basic salary was set at $450 per month covering all regular and special school board meetings, work sessions, retreats, two committee meeting/per month, and the annual MSBA conference. Any meetings outside of the basic salary conditions are paid at $25 per hour.

The meeting place for the School Board will be the Otter Community Room, located in the Kennedy Secondary School.  The meeting dates will be on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month, starting at

5:15 pm.  Exception: July and November meetings on the third Monday of the month only; and December meeting on the second Monday of the month only; Summer meetings – June, July and August – will begin at 7:15 am.

The mileage rate has been the IRS recognized rate at $0.545. The Daily Journal is the official newspaper. Security State Bank is the official depository. The School Board passed a resolution allowing the Superintendent or School Board Chairperson authorization to contact legal counsel as needs require.

Committee/Board Representatives Minnesota State High School League & Co-Curricular: Matthew Lemke; Special Education Cooperative Board & Region 1 Board: Melanie Cole; Activities Committee: Melanie Cole, Blaine Danielson, Stephen Vigesaa; Curriculum Review Committee: Melissa Hermes Finance Committee: Melanie Cole, Natalie Knutson, Melissa Hermes; Buildings & Grounds: Blaine Danielson, Matthew Lemke, Stephen Vigesaa; Policy Committee: Natalie Knutson, Stephen Vigesaa; Wellness Committee: Natalie Knutson; 544  Education Foundation: Blaine Danielson; Meet & Confer: Blaine Danielson, Melanie Cole; Legislative Liaison: Steve Vigesaa; Staff Development: Missy Hermes; and Lakes Country Service Cooperative: Matthew Lemke.

Negotiation Representatives – Certified Staff: Melanie Cole, Matthew Lemke, Melissa Hermes; Principals: Blaine Danielson, Matthew Lemke, Stephen Vigesaa; Secretaries/Custodians: Stephen Vigesaa; District Wide Individual Contracts: Melanie Cole; Para Educators and Special Education Paraprofessionals: Blaine Danielson, Natalie Knutson; and Cafeteria: Missy Hermes.


The Fergus Falls Public Schools is an active member of Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA), as are most school districts in the state.  MSBA is a valued resource for our District, especially for the School

Board. The following information is from their website – and is only a partial list of the services offered to schools:

The MSBA staff respond daily to member questions ranging from administrative processes/procedures to school board governance to statutory requirements to guiding rules/regulations to negotiations proposals, etc. The MSBA’s Annual Leadership Conference is its largest meeting and not only offers nationally known speakers, dozens of breakout sessions and training opportunities, and access to approximately 200 product/service exhibitors.

Public Education Employee Relations Network (PEERNet) is MSBA’s comprehensive database of facts and figures relative to district salary schedules, work days and years, and fringe benefits for teachers, superintendents, and other administrators.

Read by more than 4,200 subscribers, the MSBA Journal is MSBA’s flagship publication. This magazine looks at education from every angle, chronicles life on a school board, features student art, contains the “Ask MSBA Column” which provides in-depth answers to commonly asked questions, and is a useful resource for finding vendors and services.

The MSBA staff send out emails containing links to the top K-12 education stories of the day. This daily service is used by nearly 2,000 subscribers. The MSBA Leader Newsletter updates members about MSBA news and events, topical news items, timely administrative topics, administrative job openings, and much more.