The Lake Park-Audubon School District will soon begin using a unified telephone system for its facilities in both Lake Park and Audubon.
The LP-A School Board approved the district-wide system upgrade, as well as similar updates to the intercom and camera surveillance systems in the elementary building, at its regular board meeting Monday night in Audubon.
According to District Technology Coordinator Bob Henderson, the new internet-based system will eliminate both landline fees and long distance charges for the district. Henderson also noted that the anticipated savings should recover the initial $21,398 upgrade cost in about 18 months,
The only drawback, he added, is that with the switch in service providers, "We cannot keep any of the old phone numbers."
The new PA and camera system upgrades in the Audubon building, meanwhile, will replace "antiquated and unreliable" equipment that has become too costly to repair, as well as providing better security by putting camera surveillance into areas that had previously not been monitored. The PA system upgrade will cost about $18,000, while the installation of 20 outdoor and 23 indoor cameras around the building will cost about $12,500.
In other business, the board met in closed session with high school teacher Nick Paur to discuss some private information regarding his request for four weeks of paid disability leave during his absence from his teaching and coaching positions between Jan. 9-Feb. 3. After a lengthy discussion behind closed doors, the board reopened the meeting and unanimously approved Paur's request.
The board also discussed several items related to district-wide lawn and turf maintenance, particularly the maintenance of the high school athletic fields.
In the end, the board approved the recommendations of the Buildings & Grounds Committee and Superintendent Dale Hogie to approve a proposal from Luke Langerud of West Central Ag Services for summer turf maintenance at a cost of $4,485, and also approved advertising for both single-year and three-year lawn mowing quotes along with the possible hire of a high school groundskeeper, though as board member Skye Bjerke pointed out, the groundskeeper position is something that is still under discussion, as it has not yet been determined how many hours would be needed and what the hourly wage would be.
Early in the meeting, board members listened to a presentation from sixth grade teachers Mary Softing and Katie O'Connell on the ongoing elementary school garden project. Later on, they unanimously approved a proposal to begin exploring the possibility of constructing a greenhouse at the elementary site, through potential grant funding and construction services provided by Cole Wixo's construction trades class from the high school.