Natalie Knutson, Chair

Committees: Finance Committee; Buildings & Grounds; Policy Committee; Wellness Committee

Negotiations: Special Education Paraprofessionals; District-wide Individual Contracts

Term ends: 2024


Melanie Cole, Vice Chair

Committees: Spec Ed. Coop & Region I Board; Meet & Confer

Negotiations: Certified staff; Special Education Paraprofessionals

Term ends: 2026


Phone: 218-205-4854

Kirby Anderson, Treasurer

Committees: Finance Committee; 544 Education Foundation; Activities Committee

Negotiations: Principals

Term ends: 2026


Phone: 218-770-7161

Melissa Hermes, Clerk

Committees: Curriculum Review; Policy Committee

Negotiations: Certified staff; Food Service

Term ends: 2026


Matthew Lemke

Committees: MN State HS League & Co-Curricular; Activities Committee; Finance Committee; Buildings & Grounds

Negotiations: Certified staff; Principals; Secretaries & Custodians

Term ends: 2024


Phone: 218-731-1385

Stephen Vigesaa

Committees: Activities Committee; Policy Committee; Buildings & Grounds; Staff Development

Negotiations: Principals; Secretaries & Custodians; Title 1 Paras & Para Educators

Term ends: 2024


Phone: 507-993-5941

A special meeting of the School Board of Independent School District No. 544 was held in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School. Vice Chair Melanie Cole called the meeting to order at 7:50 am. The following members were present: Melanie Cole, Missy (Melissa) Hermes, Matthew Lemke, and Stephen Vigesaa. Kirby Anderson and Natalie Knutson were absent. Jeff Drake, Superintendent, Renae Macheledt, Finance Director, and Elaine Jahnke, HR Director, were also present. 

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all present. 

Missy Hermes, clerk, established a quorum. 

Stephen Vigesaa moved to approve the agenda. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously. 

New Business: 

  1. Melanie Cole moved the adoption of the following resolution:


BE IT RESOLVED by the School Board of Independent School District No. 544, State of Minnesota, as follows:

  1. It is hereby found, determined and declared that the special election of the voters of this School District held on May 14, 2024, was in all respects duly and legally called and held.
  2. As specified in the attached Abstract and Return of Votes Cast, at said election a total of 3,603 voters of the School District voted on the question of authorizing the issuance of school building bonds for a school acquisition and betterment program (Shall the school board of Independent School District No. 544 / Fergus Falls Public Schools be authorized to issue its general obligation school building bonds in an amount not to exceed $54,820,000 to provide funds for the acquisition and betterment of school sites and facilities, including the construction and equipping of a new grades 3-5 elementary school facility?) of which 1,341 voted in favor, 2,262 voted against the same.  Said proposition, having not received the approval of at least a majority of such votes, is hereby declared to have failed.
  3. The Clerk is hereby directed to certify the results of the election to the county auditors of each county in which the School District is located in whole or in part and to the Commissioner of Education.

The motion for the adoption of the foregoing resolution was duly seconded by Stephen Vigesaa and upon vote being taken thereon, the following voted in favor thereof: Melanie Cole, Missy (Melissa) Hermes, Matthew Lemke, and Stephen Vigesaa

and the following voted against the same: None

whereupon said resolution was declared duly passed and adopted.

The next regular School Board meeting will be held at 7:15 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024 in the Otter Community Room at the Kennedy Secondary School. 

Stephen Vigesaa made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:54 am. The motion was seconded by Matthew Lemke and carried unanimously.