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Paynesville Schools organizes new mission statement

PAYNESVILLE -- Weeks after holding a community meeting about the district's future, Paynesville Area Schools assembled a list of district priorities and goals based on the ideas of the Paynesville community.

Superintendent Todd Burlingame said Thursday the School Board finalized a mission statement that lists six priorities for the district, all of which were suggested by community members who attended Paynesville School District's April 13 strategic planning meeting.

Paynesville Area Schools scheduled the April 13 meeting to gain community feedback regarding the future of the school district. The district intended to find out where local residents wanted the school district to be in five to 10 years.

But the meeting wasn't largely attended -- only 15 people showed up at the district auditorium.

"I was expecting a bigger turnout ... I was kind of hoping for 50 to 100, but we had 15 there," Burlingame said in an interview after the meeting.

The district also distributed a related survey to staff members and residents prior to the meeting, but only 48 staff members and 33 residents filled out the surveys.

"That was kind of a little disheartening, too," Burlingame said.

Nonetheless, the district created the list with the help of Bruce Miles of Big River Consulting Group, LLC. The School Board decided on the following six priorities during Tuesday's regular meeting:

- Continue to be good financial stewards for the district.

- Maintain building and grounds to promote community relationships and student pride.

- Build an active and open communication line between the school district and the community.

- Be a leader in the use of technology for learning.

- Improve academic programming for all levels of students.

- Maintain and improve district areas of character, respect and integrity.

Underneath each heading on the list, Burlingame said, the School Board detailed what the district wanted to accomplish in that priority, how to reach those goals and what district results the priority would create.

In a previous interview, Burlingame said the district would make the list of priorities so the School Board and the district administration would have a checklist to watch when the district takes action.

"We want to have that available so when we're making decisions about our programs and what direction we're going, we refer back to that often and say 'Hey, this is what the community values,'" Burlingame said.

In addition to finalizing the mission statement, the School Board also accepted a bid from Wells Fargo Tuesday regarding the district's five-year lease option for its summer roof construction project worth $529,700. Burlingame said the interest for the lease will be 4.07 percent.

Burlingame said the state legislature passed a bill last year that permits school districts to use a leasing option, instead of bonding, for district building roof projects. The district opted with leasing, he said, because current construction prices would allow the district to repair a large portion of the roofs of its buildings at a low price.