Board Updates

The GFW School Board held a regular meeting on Tuesday, January 16, 2024. A summary of the meeting is below. 

Watch the meeting on YouTube:

School and Community Recognition

Superintendent Horton and the Board took time to recognize Special Education Teacher Sharon Fossum and gave her a chance to share about her work with the GFW Spirit of the Season program. Starting the program 17 years ago in her special ed classroom, Spirit of the Season has grown from a way to get resources for those in need ranging from shoes and clothes to an annual holiday dinner and a program with multiple donors. 

Families seek assistance in a variety of situations whether there is an illness or death in the family, or other challenges. “We have kids in the district who do not have pillows, blankets, or sheets,” said Fossum. “We had 32 families and 110 kids who got items this year. These are all working people who have jobs but can’t make ends meet.” Spirit of the Season has become a beacon of hope and service for the GFW Community and it all starts with the giving nature and passion of Sharon Fossum. She has helped to pay for daycare, winter clothes, toothbrushes, and a number of other needs for students, staff, and families. 

Donations can be made to the program by contacting GFW Elementary and connecting with Sharon. We encourage people to connect with the program and support the important work that is making such a difference in the lives of our students!

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. Horton shared a short report encouraging families to have their students dress warmly for the winter weather. Members of the board joined Dr. Horton at the Minnesota School Boards Association conference in the Twin Cities last week. The conference was filled with opportunities to learn and connect with other board members from across the state. 

As part of the Community Schools work taking place, the district is planning for the new school facility to house a store, food pantry, and will be able to provide resources to students who need extra help, much in the spirit of the work done by Ms. Fossum over the past 17 years. 

School Board Reports

Board members shared reports from committees and ongoing work. 

Facility Project Update

Maria Kennedy of Wold Architects shared updates on the facilities process as finishing touches are being put on designs and plans. The project is now in the Construction Document phase which is focused on preparing documents for contractors to bid on with specifications being developed for the needs. The bid period will be open from January 23 to February 22. The board will award contracts for critical contracts on March 4 with remaining contracts awarded March 18. 

Dustin Kempf from Kraus-Anderson shared more updates about the process of developing estimates and site surveys in keeping the project on schedule and on budget. The team has been meeting with representatives from the State of Minnesota on codes and other updates. Kraus-Anderson will be bidding out work for different systems with about 30 different work scope packages with contractors excited to be able to get their name in the running for the project. 

The project continues to remain under budget even with additional square footage. Construction is anticipated to begin with the ground thaws in the spring with district move-in slated for August 2025. 

Logo and Mascot Updates

Member Stehr shared that students were surveyed about their thoughts on the logo and mascot and that there will be more information coming on next steps.

Consent Agenda and Action Items

The Board approved the consent agenda

The board approved changes to policies. 

The board approved an upcoming baseball fundraiser. 

CFO Heine shared an update on the Pay Equity Report, which was approved the board

The board approved donations to the district