Photo by Robert Williams
Acting school board chair Daneele Shipman presents a plaque to Julie Wirth recognizing her 38 years of service. Wirth is retiring this year and was recognized at the school board meeting during Teacher Appreciation Week.

By Robert Williams


Frazee-Vergas Elementary School teacher Julie Wirth was recognized prior to her retirement at the end of the school year during the regular meeting of the school board Monday, May 8. Wirth was honored for 38 years of service to the district.

“It’s always bittersweet getting to this time of the year. Over the years, you’re excited for the person who is getting to retire; they’ve had an awesome career and have done a lot of great things for our district. You’re also sad because Julie has done such a great job in our school and our district and you think about all the students she has worked with and reached and done great things for. It’s pretty amazing. I’m excited for you, Julie, and we’re going to miss you. I hope you get to enjoy your retirement now,” elementary principal Travis Nagel said. 

Acting board chair thanked Wirth for her hard work and dedication and the length of time working for the district.

The Forum will feature Wirth in an upcoming issue.

Calendar Adjustment

In order to meet the needed minutes for funding an additional day was added to the school calendar. The final day of the school year for students will be Thursday, May 25.

Hornet Pride

The district received the following donations:

• Bell Bank donation of $25 for a custom Frazee-Vergas School District bank card

• Successbuilders, Jerry Hanson, donated $300 for the gymnasium sound system

• Donation for FFA Competition from BTD for $500

• Thaddeus and Kristin Helmers donated $4,000 for the Athletic Facility – Shot Put Area

• Summer Recreation 2023 Donations from: Arvig Enterprises, Inc. $250; KLN Enterprises $350; Seip Drug $25; Mike’s Lock & Key $50; Franklin Fence Company Inc. $1,000; Lakeridge Dental $300; Vergas 66 Convenience Store $200.

Summer hours

School hours for the summer, beginning May 29 and running through August 31, were announced. Custodial hours will be 10 hour days, Monday – Thursday, as will district, high school and elementary hours. Hours of operation are scheduled form 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution from January regarding the reduction of one full-time counselor position due to financial limitations.

The following positions were approved for hire:

• Administrative Assistant I, Diana Behrmann.

• Two Summer Food Program Workers, Rock Brown and Todd Dormanen.

• Four Summer Custodial Cleaners, Melanie Erickson, Deb Berg, Lacey Kiehl Vanessa Jager (part time).

• One 7-12 Special Education Teacher, Kendra Wattenhofer.

The following resignations were approved:

• Title I Paraprofessional, Diana Behrmann.

• Junior Varsity Girls Basketball Coach, Paige Callahan.

• High School Paraprofessional, Lindsay Kennedy.


The district received one Enrollment Options Application for enrollment out of the District to Detroit Lakes.


The board adopted the district’s Continuous Improvement Plan. The plan was created with the assistance of Staples-Motley School District superintendent Shane Tappe, principal Debbie Ferdon and Communications and Marketing Director Loren Walz.

Over the past few months, small groups have been meeting to outline priorities, goals, issues that need to be addressed, and ways to bring success to the Frazee-Vergas school district. 

To do that, those groups of stakeholders have consisted of a large assortment of people, not just from the school. Besides the school board, elementary and high school staff, custodial staff, different members of the community and the student body worked together to come up with the final draft.

The CIP was approved by a vote of 5-1 with Tyler Trieglaff the lone dissenting vote. Chairman Thaddeus Helmers was not in attendance.


The district had a cost containment target of cutting $500,000, but has reduced that number to $400,000 as of the latest revised budget. Last month, the board approved eliminating five teaching positions that equated to $312,644. Potentially, up to two additional positions were slated to be cut, one being the aforementioned full-time counselor position.


The board approved a bid of $25,840 to Johnson Controls to replace four vibration isolators and four butterfly valves on heating pumps. The existing valves do not close fully and the vibration isolators are damaged and/or leaking.

The board intends to proceed with requests for proposals for roof replacements at the elementary school (29,000 square feet) and the high school (85,000 sq. ft.). Work will be phased and is projected to be completed during the summers of 2024 and 2025.

This summer, a 30×42-foot athletic field storage shed will be constructed. Interior finishes to the shed will be based on budgeted funds available.

The roof work is included in the district’s long-term facility maintenance plan (LTFM). A revised version of the LTFM was also approved Monday night.