NEW RICHMOND -- During its Aug. 19 regular meeting, the New Richmond School Board approved several agreements, as well as an increase to the district’s substitute teacher pay scale.

Community Commons Development Agreement

One of the bigger items on the agenda for the Aug. 19 meeting was an extension request from the city of New Richmond for the Community Commons Development Agreement. The city requested that the School Board extend the agreement for another year.

Representatives of the city and the library board explained where they are in the process of building and fundraising for a new library. The city recently identified the Arch Street location (formerly the Community Commons) as the site for the new library. Attorney Nick Vivian said that the city expects to commence the building project in 2020, with the hope of completing it by 2022. The project is expected to cost $6 million to $8 million, with the city able to contribute around $1 million from a reserve fund for the upfront soft costs.

The board approved the extension following final legal review of the addendum. The agreement would have come due on Oct. 16, 2019.

SOAR Education Center Agreement and Lease Addendum

The board approved the SOAR Education Center Agreement and Lease Addendum packet. which means that the project can move forward. The project has been on hold for four years as the city, the school district and the FAA worked out an agreement that would allow the district to start a construction project on land across from the New Richmond Airport.

Substitute Pay Rate Recommendation

The board approved an increase to substitute pay for the 2019-2020 school year. The new $125 per day rate puts the district even two area school districts and ahead of several others.

District Administrator Patrick Olson said that for the most part, the district’s inability to find substitutes isn’t about subs not wanting to come to New Richmond, it is about their not being enough subs to fill the needs of every district in the area.

Districtwide to implement visitor management system

The board heard an update from District Administrator Patrick Olson regarding the district’s new visitor management system. The installation of RAPTOR will provide a safety net for students and staff alike, Olson said.

The new system will require visitors to any of the school buildings in the district to present a form of identification, such as a driver's license, and then they will receive a name badge that states where they are going, who they are there to see and other information. It will allow administration to know who is in the building at any given time.

The same system has been in use in Hudson and St. Croix Central school districts since the beginning of the last school year. Olson also said that high school students will receive school IDs for the first time this year to help streamline the system at the high school. The system, Olson said, will only be active during school hours.

During the meeting, the board also approved its 2019-2020 employee handbook, the district safety response manual, its FamilyMeans Therapeutic Mental Health Services agreement, the purchase of new instructional materials, part-time open enrollment applications and a series of new staffing positions.