Braham principal resigns for position in Forest Lake

Braham Area High School Principal Justin Sawyer will end his almost three-year stint at the high school June 30.

His resignation was officially accepted at a school board meeting Monday evening. Sawyer has been with the district since July 2011, and he will be the assistant principal at Forest Lake Area High School.

“It’s been a pleasure working here for the last three years,” Sawyer said to the board. “I really have been grateful for all the support that you guys have given me.”

Before joining BAHS as principal, Sawyer was a coach and teacher for North Branch. While at BAHS, he assisted in bringing forward a “bring your own device” program, among many other policies. He is one of two major resignations accepted by the board in the past two months. Activities director Tim Malone also resigned this year.

Braham School Board Chair Steve Eklund thanked Sawyer for his service.

“I’ve watched you grow from being an administrator, and a quality one at that,” Eklund said to Sawyer at the meeting. He also thanked Malone for his service.


New bullying legislation

Braham updated its handbook policies.

One  potential change relates to new anti-bullying legislation that was passed into law, and Braham Area Schools will have to update the policy to comply with the new law. One of the stipulations is that the administration has jurisdiction to handle bullying that occurs outside of school property and hours. The bullying prohibition policy had its first reading at the meeting.

“If something is going on outside our realm, we still have to deal with it,” said Braham Superintendent Greg Winter of the new anti-bullying legislation. “That’s the biggest change I see, not that it’s good or bad. It just makes it a little more difficult. I also understand where their motivation comes from. We’ve done an excellent job of dealing with it from our programs. At times (the new policy) is going to become problematic. We’re going to become the police for everything that’s going on out there, and it’s going to cause some issues. We’ll certainly deal with them as best we can as they come along.”


In other action, the board:

  • Accepted $500 in donations for the new scoreboard in the east gym.
  • Approved policy changes for the elementary, high school, fine arts, athletics and faculty handbooks.
  • Approved a motion to increase worker hours for high school food services and to decrease elementary helper and clerk hours.
  • Approved adult breakfast and lunch prices increases to $1.75 and $3.50 per meal, respectively.
  • The fiscal year 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 budgets were approved. The 2014-2015 budget includes the purchase of a $25,000 van that relates to transportation services. The total budget is $9.67 million for fiscal year 2014-2015 revenue and $10.53 million in expenditures. This compares to a total of $12.24 million in revenue and $13.22 million in expenditures for fiscal year 2013-2014. Winter attributed the change to paying off bonds for an HVAC project and foresees only small changes to 2014’s budget. The fiscal year ends June 30.
  • Approved the hiring of Tracy Fix as the new sixth-grade teacher and Katie Thies as the new vocal music teacher for grades K-12.
  • Hired Shawn Kuhnke as the new high school assistant principal and activities director. He has been with the district since September 2000 as an elementary classroom teacher.
  • Approved ratifications to the Title I contract and a 2013-2015 food service contract.
  • Approved the district’s renewed membership to the Schools for Equity in Education for 2014-2015 for a cost of $2,129.
  • Approved membership renewal for Central Minnesota Educational Research and Development council, which allows the district to purchase items at a lower cost. The membership costs $1,134 for 2014-2015.