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MECLA will stay at mall for now

July 24, 2012
By Jenny Kirk , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - The Marshall School Board voted Monday in favor of keeping Marshall East Campus Learning Alternative (MECLA) at its current Market Street Mall location for the next year.

With MECLA's 10-year lease currently up, school officials had been pursuing alternative options, one of which included the old Marshall-Lyon Country Library location. After that proposal was rejected by the Marshall City Council in favor of selling the building to Lyon County with the expectation that the county would make the building a permanent home for the Lyon County Museum, the school continued searching for options. Although a variety of alternative locations were debated, district administrators felt that a 1-year lease extension was the best option at this time.

"Bruce (Lamprecht, business director) and I have visited with the ownership of the Market Street Mall and we arrived at this solution," Marshall Schools Superintendent Klint Willert said. "We believe it's the right solution for where we're at right now. It certainly does not preclude us from looking at other options, but it does certainly provide us a ground for where we'll be for the next year and provides us that opportunity to make a thoughtful decision with all the various options that we have before us at this time."

Willert pointed out the district, in the future, could pursue the opportunity to become an area learning center, which could serve multiple districts and be grounded in vocational potential.

"We could re-brand MECLA," he said.

In addition to approving seven other action items, the board approved personnel requests. While the administrative staff has kept busy hiring new individuals for the upcoming 2012-13 school year, Willert said he's confident the district will be "well-staffed."

"We've had a number of positions, and as you know, we've had a few coaches over the last few months who have resigned," Willert said. "They certainly will be missed and leave some big shoes to be filled, but we are taking thoughtful actions to fill those positions accordingly."

Among those leaving the district are Michelle Schrantz (assistant principal at Marshall Middle School), Tom Critchley (technology teacher and head boys basketball coach), Steve Fleck (fifth-grade teacher and head baseball coach) and Alan Lucht (head boys golf coach).

"We have some outstanding people that we've been bringing in to fill some of those positions that we have within our district, around the reading coaches, classroom teachers and technology pieces," Willert said. "We're really excited about what we're bringing in, but we just want to get it wrapped up, obviously."

When board member Matt Coleman asked how many classroom teacher positions still needed to be filled, Willert said that, off the top of his head, he believed there were four or five remaining.

"That's not bad," Coleman said.

Regarding bond refunding, Willert pointed out that re-authorization of a new sale would be necessary, but that the revision of new parameters was not needed at this time.

"We were close, but not quite, in meeting the parameters," he said. "Ehlers advised us that we don't have to re-establish new parameters. We just have to wait for the conditions to be right."

Lamprecht added that, in speaking with Ehlers representative Jody Zosbaugh, they were "pretty optimistic that it's going to work this time."

Willert also reported that Southwest Minnesota State University had presented MPS with a joint powers agreement on the track facility. The tentative plan, Willert said, indicates that SMSU will be the holder of the note, and that MPS would be leasing from them.

"We can use lease levy funds for the cost," he said.



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