Tricounty News

Kimball school board: S.O.D. likely to be announced at September meeting

After having survived S.O.D. (statutory operating debt) eight years ago, the last thing the Kimball School District wants to hear is that it may happen again.

Superintendent John Tritabaugh announced at the Aug. 21 meeting that the financial audit of the district has been completed. The results will be announced at next month’s Sept. 18 meeting. Those results, he says, will probably include the fact that the district will be again in S.O.D., this time for the 2012-13 school year. The discrepancy is $150,000, about 4 percent deficit instead of the allowable 2.5 percent. The only way to avoid S.O.D. would have been to cut $150,000 from last year’s budget.

The problem, Tritabaugh says, is that revenue was lower than anticipated and it didn’t cover expenditures. 

Part of the problem, he says, is not having full classrooms. Having a sixth-grade class of 38 this year, for instance, with two classrooms of 16 students each, costs pretty much the same as a class of 50 with two classrooms of 25; the difference is that there’s more than $60,000 less revenue with the class of only 38 students.

The district has done several much-needed and long overdue maintenance projects, including replacing the elementary school gym floor and roof.

All agreed that they wouldn’t have done anything differently, that every spending decision was to make things better for students.

It’s a bit like finding out a year later that your checking account was overdrawn. 

The next step, once the S.O.D. status is official, will be working closely with the Minnesota Department of Education on a plan, probably a three-year plan, for the district to get out of S.O.D.


Enrollment numbers are still changing hourly as we approach the start of school but, as of the Aug. 21 meeting, they are a total of 679, with a breakdown as follows:

345 at the Elementary School: 56 kindergarten (53 full-time and 3 part-time), 51 first grade, 42 second grade, 58 third grade, 58 fourth grade, 42 fifth grade, and 38 sixth grade. 

334 at the high school: 67 seventh grade, 57 eighth grade, 46 freshmen, 45 sophomores, 62 juniors, and 57 seniors. 

Third grade was discussed, with a possible need for a third section. Second-grade teachers have indicated that a third section would be very helpful, but there are no funds for that at this time.

About 17 percent of KES students are “special needs,” and this year’s third-grade class have a high percentage of special needs students.

Flipped Classroom experiment

Veteran teacher Jason Mortenson used the “flipped classroom” model for all but one of his math classes this past school year. He attended the meeting Aug. 21 to explain what it is and how successful it has been.

All year, Mortenson prepared a series of short videos on each lesson; if more than 15 minutes was needed to pre-teach each lesson, he’d make two shorter videos.
Students could view the videos the night before the lesson was introduced in the classroom. In class, the day’s math concepts were presented along with even more hands-on examples for students to work through. Time was available in class to view the video and to work through problems with Mortenson.

Viewing the videos was not required, but Mortenson monitored who watched them and when. That way he could intervene with students whose grades were slipping, and have them watch the videos that they hadn’t. 

Mortenson explains the method as similar to a literature class, where you read a chapter or two the night before class where you discuss it. Students are much more able to discuss the symbolism and nuances of the literature if they’ve already read it. Likewise, students who don’t read may be able to follow along in class discussion, but they’re much less prepared, and it’s usually not comfortable for the student. 

Since implementing the flipped classroom model, Mortenson says class scores are up an average of
6 percentage points, and his classes are performing at 90 percent going into the second semester; both are dramatic increases over traditional in-class-only teaching. Students have a number of work problems for each concept in their textbooks; Mortenson gives them several more in class, and his videos give them even more. This extra combination helps ensure student success.

Another advantage to this method’s success, says Mortenson, is that he is always 40 feet or less from students and their lockers all day long. He’s available for help and questions at any time.

In teaching, Mortenson says, his biggest challenge is the lack of support for students outside the classroom. Especially with higher-level math classes, parents often are “lost” and can’t help with homework. The videos are viewable by parents (and anyone, really) through the school website.

Ballfield parking

Work began on changing the far-end baseball field (nearest Hwy. 55) into a parking lot shortly after the July meeting. As superintendent Tritabaugh explained, he thought everything was in order. Then they got a letter from the City of Kimball that a Conditional Use Permit was required along with a land survey. The permit has been applied for, and steps are being taken to meet the other requirements.

Other business

In other business, the board approved donations of $660 from the Kimball Lions, $1,500 from the Kimball American Legion, and $1,500 from the Kimball Sports Booster Club, and $1,450 from the High School Letterwinners, all toward construction of a dugout; and $475 from the Kimball American Legion to purchase an iPad for the elementary school.

Whitney Gettler was approved on a long-term substitute contract for a potential third section of kindergarten.

Melissa Opatz (who was Mrs. Nussbaum’s student teacher last year) was approved as a long-term substitute for Krisanne Forsman in first grade.

Tara Ottenson’s resignation dated Aug. 20 was approved contingent on finding a suitable replacement; she teaches elementary special ed.

The board approved a field trip to Quarry Park for Paul Sundin’s eighth-grade science class. 

They approved a 50/50 raffle at each home game (except football)for the Letterwinners Club with proceeds going to help pay for the new dugout. (The Spanish Club will have a fundraiser at home football games.)

Because there is a home football game at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, just before the fall break for the teachers’ convention, the October school board meeting has been moved to Wednesday,
Oct. 23.

The next board meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in the board room. Parents, staff, the the general public are always welcome to attend board meetings.


Kimball Elementary & High School open houses Aug. 27

Open house is from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at the Kimball Elementary School. There will be various forms needed to begin school, as well as tables for Hendricks’ Bus Co., Taher Food Service, Partners in Education, and many others available. Grades 4-6 need a planner, which P.I.E. will sell that night at their table in the gym. The planner is $3.

Grades 7-12 open house is at the high school cafetorium, also from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27.

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? (2)

 It’s time for the KIMBALL CUBS Youth Football!

• Touch Football Program for students entering grades 1-2.

When: Saturday, Sept 7, 14, 21 & 28, from 9-10 a.m.

Where: Kimball Area High School Football Field

Cost: $20

• 5th & 6th Grade Tackle Football. Sign up, equipment handout and first practice is Aug, 13, at 6 p.m. at the Kimball Area High School.

We will also be handing out equipment on Aug. 15.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays starting on Aug. 13, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Kimball Area High School Football Field

Cost: $50

• 3rd & 4th Grade Tackle Football. Sign up and equipment handout is Aug. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Kimball Area High School.

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays starting on Sept. 3, from 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Kimball High School Football Field

Cost: $50

All participants will learn skills such as passing, catching, ball handling, blocking, kicking and much more.

For more information on any of these programs, please call Brian Becker at (320) 764-7800, or (320) 493-1217, e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Programs sponsored by The Kimball Booster Club please visit our website at: www.kimball


Brad Mies attends business camp

Farmers & Merchants State Bank sponsors Kimball Area High School student for business camp

Students spend a week preparing for life after high school.W-Brad-Miles-Kimball-High-School

A cutting-edge business plan outlining a make-your-own-cupcake store in the Mall of America was praised by a panel of industry investors. The proposal for “CupMake” summarized marketing, finances, and operations practices – and it was crafted in one week by a group of unfamiliar high school students. Dozens of business plans such as this were created at BestPrep’s 33rd annual Minnesota Business Venture (MBV). While the business plans and monetary investment were imaginary, the ideas presented would give today’s entrepreneurs a run for their money.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and creating a business plan,” said Kimball Area High School student Brad Mies. “I am confident that I will use the skills I learned in college and my future career.” Brad is the son of Brian and Linda Mies and is a 2013 graduate of Kimball Area High School.


Maicy Vossen participates in Miss Teen of America program

Last month, Maicy Vossen was one of 44 candidates in the Miss Teen of America contest at St. Cloud State University. Maicy is 14, and the daughter of Lana and Gary Vossen of Kimball.w-Maicy-VossenIMG 9222-RGB

The program is for scholarship and recognition, and it is not a beauty or talent pageant. Invitation to participate came through the Kimball Area High School. Judges’ scoring is based on 25 percent personality, 15 percent poise and personality projection in formal wear, 15 percent on scholastic record, 15 percent on service and achievement, 15 percent on personal development, and 15 percent on general awareness. Emphasis is on the enriching process of meeting and working with other high-achieving teens. Their philosophy is that everyone is a winner in their program.