Westonka School Board
The school board is the governing body of the school district, and the seven board members are local citizens elected to four-year terms. Members are required to comply with laws and regulations enacted by the Minnesota Legislature and the Minnesota Department of Education. The board approves budgets, hires staff, provides facilities, establishes curriculum, determines policy, and generally provides for the educational needs of Westonka students.
Dave Botts Announces Retirement
On Jan. 9, 2023, the school board and district received notice that long-time board member Dave Botts has made the decision to retire from the Westonka School Board, effective immediately, due to family medical circumstances.
Dave Botts has been a member of the Westonka School Board for 23 years (nearly six full-terms), including 19 years as chairman, making him the longest-serving school board member in the over 100-year history of the school district. We will be setting a date to recognize Mr. Botts for his years of dedicated service to the students, staff, families and residents of Westonka Public Schools.
Next Steps to Fill the Board Vacancy
By state statute, the Westonka School Board is required to appoint an interim board member to serve the remainder of Mr. Botts’ term of office, which ends January 1, 2024. Following Westonka’s past process for filling board vacancies, board members will vote on a timeline and application process to fill Mr. Botts’ seat at the February 6, 2023 school board meeting. The approved application timeline and selection process will be communicated following that meeting.
Mr. Botts’ seat is one of four board positions set to appear on the November 2023 general election ballot. The person appointed as interim school board member can choose whether or not to run for a full four-year term in the fall.
We expect to begin accepting applications in February. In reviewing past timelines for filling board vacancies, we anticipate the person appointed to be sworn into office in May 2023.
Long-Range Facilities Planning
The Westonka School Board Facilities Committee spent much of the past year conducting a review of facilities needs across the district. Areas of study included: facility maintenance, grade configuration, Early Learning Center Phase II, building/campus security, building capacities, design of educational space to support 21st Century Learners, and activity space.
District Demographic Study
To aid in this process, the district received an updated demographic study to help project enrollment over the next 10 years and to ensure we understand the capacity of our buildings. At the July 2022 school board meeting, demographer Hazel Reinhardt presented that the Westonka District will have stable to slightly increasing enrollment over the next decade.
These projections indicate that the district should have sufficient classroom space to accommodate enrollment in the near term. That being the case, the facilities committee believes that the appropriate time to further explore the expansion of early learning and/or K-12 grade reconfiguration will be at a time when our overall enrollment requires us to add space to support our students. This will ensure that these areas of focus can be examined in a comprehensive way that will have lasting value to our students and community.
With the results of the demographic study, the school board called for a community survey to help the district better understand the attitudes and opinions of residents of the Westonka School District and to gauge the level of support for the remaining four areas studied by the facilities committee:
- Facility maintenance - Deferred maintenance improvements across all district schools, including HVAC, pipes, boilers, etc.
- Building/campus security - Security improvements in all buildings, including the addition of a secured entrance at Grandview Middle School
- Design of educational space to support 21st Century Learners - Including interior redesign of Mound Westonka High School to increase security and improve the functionality and learning environment for students
- Activity space - outdoor activity space improvements on the high school campus (opportunities, safety and accessibility)
The results of the community survey were presented at the September 2022 school board meeting. While the purpose of the survey was to collect general community opinions and did not include any finalized project proposals, residents indicated support for the district overall, as well as support for the communicated facility areas of focus.
With this information, Westonka Schools will be continuing the facilities review process during the 2022-23 school year with staff focus groups. This will allow the district to gain broader input on maintenance, security, educational and co-curricular facilities needs.
Superintendent Kevin Borg will continue to provide regular updates on this process through the Borg Report. School families and staff will also have opportunities to share input on plans as they are developed.
Questions or Concerns?
Before appealing to the school board with an issue or problem, citizens are urged to contact the teacher, then the building principal, then the Superintendent of Schools in order to reach a successful closure to an individual issue. If these procedures are unsuccessful, then arrangements will be made for the concerned party to formally address the school board.
Please call the board secretary at (952) 491-8007 to be placed on the agenda. Correspondence to board members may be sent to individual members or the board as a whole in care of the Superintendent of Schools, 5901 Sunnyfield Road East, Minnetrista, MN 55364.