Update on Safety Concern
December 4, 2019
As a follow-up to my earlier communication, I wanted to share a few more details about how yesterday’s incident unfolded and the steps that were taken to resolve it.
At approximately 3 p.m. members of our teaching staff were notified by students that a fellow student had made harmful threats. The teaching staff immediately notified the dean of students, a school counselor, and the principal. The principal was able to locate the student quickly and removed him from contact with any other students. Our trained licensed personnel on the risk assessment team evaluated the situation and deemed there to be no credible threat at that time. The student’s parents were called and the student was removed from school property.
The superintendent’s office was notified the following morning and immediately released communication to parents and staff. Once notified, we held meetings with students in grades 7-12 and a separate meeting with students in grades 4-6. You can view the meeting with 4-6 grade students online at the Minnewaska Lakers Live YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKq02p5qsfo. We also met with interested parents and discussed the concern with the Pope County Sheriff’s department.
We want to apologize to the parents and staff who had to find out via social media. We recognize this type of situation requires direct and timely communication and we are committed to doing better. We take all safety concerns seriously, and are evaluating our process and will implement improvements for the future.
We would like to thank the Minnewaska students who did the right thing by speaking up. It is extremely important that when you hear something you say something. We’d also like to thank the Pope County Sheriff’s Department for their thorough investigation.
School has resumed as normal. We have resources available for any students or parents with continued concerns. If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact the district office at 320.239.4820.
Chip Rankin, Superintendent
Superintendent Addresses Safety Concerns
December 4, 2019
For Immediate Release – December 4, 2019
See below for a letter from Chip Rankin, Superintendent at Minnewaska Area Schools, in regards to recent safety concerns. Mr. Rankin met with students and staff today, and you can watch that here. Watch Now
ISD 2149 School Board Vote on Minnewaska Baseball Association’s Sale of 3:2 Beer During Amateur Baseball Playoff Tournaments
November 4, 2019
*Updated June 29, 2020*
The ISD 2149 School Board voted to approve Minnewaska Baseball Association’s sale of 3:2 beer during the Amateur Baseball Playoff Tournament over three weekends July 15 – August 16, 2020.
To be eligible to host the tournament, the field host is required to sell 3:2 beer. The results of a public survey conducted by Minnewaska Area Schools employees and community members indicate support of the sale of 3:2 beer. Results include 64% strongly agree/agree, 4% neutral and 32% disagreed. The survey was conducted by the school administration and was emailed and posted on social media.
The tournament is estimated to bring 1,500 – 2,000 fans to the Minnewaska area and communities for three weekends from July 15 – August 16, 2020.
The Minnewaska Baseball Association raised $1.3 million to build our baseball facility allowing us the ability to host an amateur playoff tournament. A $1,000 rental agreement ensures all associated costs are covered and no costs go to Minnewaska Area Schools. The Association agrees to provide all baseball maintenance and game preparation associated services for all non-Minnesota State Highschool League games and events, roughly a $15,000 savings to ISD 2149.
- The beer contract was built upon another area school district’s success.
- Law enforcement will be required at the entrance of the field at the cost of the Association.
- No alcoholic beverages are allowed to leave the fenced area on the grounds.
- 3:2 beer would be the only alcohol sold on property.
- All beer sales would be handled and sold by liquor-liability-trained adults to 21+ adults.
- Sales would only be allowed on three weekends in July 2020 during the Amateur
- No signage, beverages, or empty containers would be allowed outside of the actual dates
Risk Mitigation to ISD 2149
- Minnewaska Baseball Association will cover all liquor liability risks with permits and insurance policies.
- Minnewaska Baseball Association will procure a $1,000,000 liability, $2,000,000 aggregate, and an umbrella of an additional $1,000,000 insurance policies listing ISD 2149 as additional insured protecting ISD 2149.
Pool Operational Procedures and Current Testing Results
October 28, 2019
Minnewaska Area Schools takes the health and safety of our students, staff, and community partners very seriously. In addition, we work diligently to protect and improve our community’s school’s facilities and investments. Upon further investigation, it was determined that at no time were any students, staff, or community members exposed to any dangers, hazards, or harm in the water or in the MAS pool facility.
In early September, it was brought to the Superintendent’s attention that there were concerns about the pool. Within four hours of the initial report, the following steps were taken: the MAS Pool was closed for testing by the Minnesota Department of Health; no discrepancies or concerns were found. The Dept. of Health and ISD 206 have conducted independent testing in addition to the daily testing conducted by ISD 2149 licensed pool professionals of the MAS pool every week for the last six weeks. ISD 2149’s pool professionals have never found any chlorine levels above the recommended levels. Additionally, HVAC and pool experts were brought in to investigate pool operations to ensure it was safe and was in compliance.
The following experts have reviewed processes, procedures, and operations on-site and have performed extensive testing of the water and facility:
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Minnesota Pools
- Mission Mechanical Engineers
- Johnson Controls
On Monday, October 21, a 90-minute meeting regarding the pool was held prior to the school board meeting to review the findings of these experts, discuss upcoming improvements, and answer questions.
The MN Department of Health conducted a comparison water test along with another area school district. Minimal differences were shown and levels were within a normal range. As an extra safety precaution, a new testing unit was ordered for future testing purposes.
After rigorous testing, these outside experts determined the Minnewaska pool and facility to be safe for use. Three independent companies were contracted to test the HVAC system, ensure the MN State Code for air exchange rates were in compliance, and that the chemical levels of the pool met industry standards. All three agencies reported that everything met code and industry standards. In addition, these agencies provided consultation to further improve the air and water quality. The following recommendations and safety procedures will be implemented and continued:
- Install a new medium pressure UV light system (ETS) for the swimming pool. Medium pressure UV systems give off a broader spectrum of UV light and are therefore better at oxidizing combined chlorine from pool water as different chloramines are destroyed at different UV light wavelengths.
- Improve the operation and capacity of the exhaust from the Pool AHU.
- Update the heat recovery system for energy efficiency and operational maintenance.
- Consider heightening the frequency of the purge cycle to vent the air in the pool
- Add low air returns within the pool to remove the chloramines off the floor
and water surface.
- Maintain water temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
- All swimmers are to shower before entering the pool.
- The pool blanket cover will be removed two hours prior to any practice
or swimming activity.
- The door will not be propped open in order to allow the pressure-based ventilation system to engage properly.
- The pool lights will be shut off when not in use.
- Maintenance requests will be addressed.
In summary, at no time were any of the chemical levels of the pool outside any safe limits or even outside the recommended zones for operation. However, one of the four dehumidification units failed in late August and it took longer than expected to get it replaced; this affected humidity levels which caused less than ideal conditions. The air handling system itself is completely operational and meets recommended levels and MN Code. We will continue to monitor and make continual improvements to ensure we provide the best possible facility to our students, staff, and community.
SchoolPay - The new way to pay fees
August 19, 2019
Minnewaska Area Schools has switched to the SchoolPay system to easily add money to lunch accounts and pay other school fees such as yearbooks, class trips and school planner fees.
Click here for SchoolPay FAQ video resources to assist with creating your account, adding students and more. Or follow these instructions below.
Create an Account
Register for a free SchoolPay Payment Center account:
Step 1 (guardian information): Enter your information including email address, name, address and phone number
Step 2 (child/children information): Enter the district name, school name the student’s first name or ID number, and last name. Repeat step two for each additional child in your household.
Step 3 (confirm and log in): An email containing a randomly-assigned password will be sent to your email. If you do not see it, check your spam filter. Key in the password from the email into the final page of your registration. If you still don’t see the email, click the Open Lock icon and follow reset instructions.
To add a child to your account click your first initial on the top right corner of the screen, and select Profile Mgmt. Then select the Student Management tab from the options on the left. Finally, select “Add Child” from the form (if you already have children associated with your account Add Child will appear beneath your last entry). To add a child:
- Enter the child’s district name
- Enter the child’s school name
- Enter your child’s first name or student ID number (Some districts require the student ID number)
- Enter your student’s last name
- If your school does not keep a student list on file with SchoolPay we will also ask you for your student’s grade
- Repeat for each additional child
Gives you more information on items such as:
- Security of the site
- Payment options and storing payment information
- Purchase History
- Cafeteria balance information
- Low balance email notifications setup
Entrance/Exit Closed Along HWY 28 into Minnewaska Area High School and Intermediate School
May 16, 2019
MNDOT has closed the entrance/exit along HWY 28 into MAHS/MAIS starting today, Thursday, May 16.
Follow all road closure and detour signs. We suggest using our back entrance near the softball fields to avoid construction during this project, HWY 24 will remain open throughout this construction project.
For more information, visit