Waconia Schools honors retiring staff members

Four long-time employees of Waconia Public Schools are retiring at the end of the school year. The four, who were honored during the Waconia School Board meeting on May 13, are, from left: Marlene Wagner, Roxy Hilfers, Monica Vierling-Hall, and Lois Jones. (Patriot photo by Todd Moen)
Four long-time employees of Waconia Public Schools are retiring at the end of the school year. The four, who were honored during the Waconia School Board meeting on May 13, are, from left: Marlene Wagner, Roxy Hilfers, Monica Vierling-Hall, and Lois Jones. (Patriot photo by Todd Moen)

With 86 years of experience between them, the quartet of Roxy Hilfers, Lois Jones, Monica Vierling-Hall and Marlene Wagner will surely be missed at their respective buildings at Waconia Public Schools next year.

The four women are retiring at the end of this school year. They were honored by Superintendent Dr. Nancy Rajanen and the Waconia School Board during the board meeting held on Monday, May 13.

Hilfers’ career spans 40 years. She is currently a Clerical Support Staff member at Southview Elementary School. She managed the clerical center, lunch accounts, and morning drop off. According to Southview Principal Khuzana DeVaan, Hilfers will always be remembered for asking everyone to “Have a good day!”

Jones has been in education for 14 years and currently works with Community Education and Kids Company. According to Community Education Director Tiffany Nelson, Jones was a popular employee, especially at the Kids Company site in St. Bonifacius, who will be missed.

Vierling-Hall has been the principal’s secretary at the high school for the past 13 years. Waconia High School Principal Mark Fredericksen noted that when Vierling-Hall started at the high school 13 years ago, the building only served 600 students compared to the 1,100 it serves now so she’s seen a lot of changes over the years.

Wagner spent her entire 19 year career in Waconia and worked with ECFE and was a learning resource teacher. She also taught third and fourth grade at Bayview Elementary School. As noted by Bayview Principal Chuck Anderson, Wagner is from New Jersey and she proved the notion that one can take the girl out of New Jersey, but can never take the New Jersey out of the girl.

The four women were treated to a reception on May 13 and the staff at each building will honor each, as well. A look at the retirement plans of each of the retirees will be included in a future edition of the Patriot.

Also during the meeting, the board approved new lunch prices for the 2013-14 school year. Lunches will increase by 10 cents at Bayview and Southview ($2.20 to $2.30) and Clearwater ($2.30 to $2.40). High school lunch will remain at $2.75. Milk will increase by a nickel. Adult lunches will increase from $3.40 to $3.45.

As explained by Finance Director Todd Swanson, the Paid Lunch Equity (PLE) provision of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires school food authorities to ensure each year that sufficient funds are provided to the food service account for full-paid student lunches.

Swanson noted that the PLE provision of the act requires a calculation be made to ensure that the weighted average lunch price charged for paid lunches is at least $2.52 in the 2013-14 school year. Waconia Public Schools’ average lunch prices in 2012-13 was computed to be $2.40. To be in compliance with the new law, an increase in lunch meal prices was required. Another increase may be necessary for 2014-15 to meet compliance.

In other matters:

• B.L. Dalsin out of Minneapolis was awarded the roofing project at the high school.

Officials were pleased because the approved bid amount was $413,115, which was lower than the budgeted amount of $475,000 for the project. The roof project covers the gymnasium, Family Consumer Science and Industrial Technology areas of the building. Work will begin June 10 and should be done in about three weeks.

As part of the project, the roof will be completed to accommodate the potential use of solar panels.

The district is hoping to secure a grant through  Xcel Energy to put a 40 kw solar panel system on the high school roof. According to Swanson, the district is pursuing the project with a company called Innovative Power Systems out of St. Paul. If approved, the system would be fully financed by JJR Power and the district would not be required to contribute any cash towards the cost of installing the project.

In brief, the district would give up 80 percent of the savings from the solar grid for six years, after which it would receive all of the savings. As the system should last at least 30 years, it would be a beneficial deal for the district.

• As of April 30, the district has 3,557 students, which is 42 more than the 3,515 the district budgeted for enrollment. It reflects growth of about 139 students over the prior year. For 2013-14, the district has set its budget at 3,652 students, which assumes an additional 95 students over the current year.

• Several donations were received by the district, including: $150 by Mike and Linda Fiterman Foundation for Robotics Program; $1,687.56 by Bayview PTO for Accelerated Reader; $5,000 by Waconia Lions Club and $840 by Conservation Club Boosters, both for Conservation Club canoes; $1,500 by James and Kathleen Hall for the Meyer-Hall Technical Scholarship Memorial Fund; and $500 by the David Bergmann Family for Scholarship Memorial Fund.

• A brief discussion was held about the continuing challenges presented by a lack of fields and/or poor condition of fields used by community education athletic teams, especially for soccer and lacrosse.

• The board’s next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 10.


SLP superintendent search

Although she was one of three finalists, it appears that Waconia’s Dr. Nancy Rajanen will not become the new superintendent of the St. Louis Park School District. After a lengthy interview process that spanned several weeks, the St. Louis Park School Board unanimously selected Robert Metz to become its next superintendent on Thursday, May 9, and agreed to enter into contract negotiations. Metz has been principal at St. Louis Park High School for the past six years.

Assuming successful contract negotiations, Metz will assume the duties of superintendent for St. Louis Park Public Schools beginning July 1, 2013.

Rajanen has served as the superintendent of Waconia Public Schools for the past five years.


Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]