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Paynesville Press - January 18, 2006

New school board members sworn in

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

•Four board members were sworn into office, starting four-year terms on the board following their election in November. Deb Glenz is starting her fourth term on the board, Mark Dingmann and Allen Schmidt are starting their second, and David Johnson is starting his first.

•The board elected officers for 2006: Schmidt, chair; Glenz, vice chair; Dingmann, treasurer; and Gretchen O'Fallon, secretary.

•The board approved a teacher seniority list for 2005-06.

•The board approved the following committee assignments for 2005-06: Minnnesota State High School League...Bonnie Strobbe; School for Equity in Education (SEE)...Glenz; Continuing Education...Glenz; West Central Education District... Schmidt (Johnson, alternate); Community Education...O'Fallon; Curriculum Advisory...Strobbe; Facility & Equipment...Dingmann, O'Fallon, and Schmidt; Employee Recognition...Glenz and O'Fallon; Transportation...Johnson and Schmidt; Teacher Negotiations... Dingmann, O'Fallon, and Schmidt; Support Staff Negotiations...Glenz, Dingmann, and Fern Roberg; Administration Negotiations... Glenz, Johnson, and Strobbe; Legislative Liasion...Glenz; Meet & Confer...O'Fallon and Roberg; Staff Development...Glenz; Finance... Dingmann, Johnson, and Roberg; Technology...O'Fallon; Food Service...Glenz and O'Fallon; Stearns County Family Services Collaborative...Strobbe; Academic Booster Club (ABC)...Glenz and Strobbe; Wellness...Glenz; and Policy...Dingmann, Johnson, and Schmidt. Two committees were combined (budget and finance) into the single finance committee, which will routinely check on expenditures as well as take a role in the budgeting process. The policy committee was added to help review/ revise current policies as well as play a role in developing new ones.

•The board approved keeping its meeting times as the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 8 p.m. in the media center at Paynesville Area Elementary School. However, the board will meet at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at the middle school media center in order to meet with the advisory councils at PAMS and PAHS.

The board will also hold only one meeting in July: on Tuesday, July 11, at 8 p.m.

•The board approved the same stipend for meetings for school board members ($40 per meeting). Working on board business for a partial day also is worth $40, while a full day spent on board business is compensated at $80.

•The board approved the same stipends for board officers for 2006: chair, $125; clerk, $25; and treasurer, $25.

•The board approved a yearly mileage stipend of $100 for administrative assistant Donna Ahrens to come to school board meetings and take minutes. Ahrens uses comp time to cover the meetings.

•The board approved a staff development grant proposal from elementary principal Deb Gillman, also the district's curriculum coordinator, to purchase 11 copies of curriculum mapping software (at $69.40 each) for $763.40 total. This software will map the district's curriculum and allow for searches by topic. In addition to copies for both principals, subject areas for this first purchase coincided with the current subjects on the purchasing cycle: math (2), media (2), music (2), and language arts (3). In future years, as other subject areas go through the purchasing cycle, more copies of the curriculum mapping software will be purchased.

•The board approved a long-term substitute contract for ECSE teacher Jessica Kerzman from January to the end of March.

•The board approved adoption leave for Karen Mumm-Thompson. According to the master contract, she is entitled to six weeks of leave. The date, however, is not set, depending on when the overseas adoption becomes final.

•The board approved hiring Theresa Geers as payroll specialist in the district office, effective Tues day, Dec. 27.

•The board approved a one-year contract with activities coordinator Kyle Nehowig for 2005-06. His contract calls for a 3.75 percent salary increase and also includes another personal day.

•The board heard an update on planned improvements at the elementary playground. Gillman explained that, for safety reasons, they had already removed the spider web and animal rockers and installed two new pieces of equipment (Pegasus and Tarantula). The costs so far are $12,261.

This summer, the school district plans further improvements, including the removal of the eight-swing swing set, purchasing six basketball hoops, adding a concrete basketball court, adding a tot lot, replacing the digger and dinosaur, replacing all swing sets ($2,000 each), and possibly adding volleyball and soccer nets.

The total proposed expenditures (which will depend on the amount of funding available) is $44,000. School funds include $15,000 from capital improvements and $14,000 from the elementary fundraising (Club Choice), totaling $29,000.

Gillman told the school board that she had presented the plan to the city's park and tree board, in an effort to obtain additional funding. While the board seemed receptive to a city-school partnership, they did have some concerns, especially the stormwater problem in the playground which causes flooding each spring. Possible remedies include raising the ground level at the playground with pea rock or connecting the drains to the city's stormwater sewer system. The district plans to investigate these options.

Also, the city committee asked if the playground could be more acces-sible from the city's Gazebo Park, such as a gate facing the park. This gate could be locked during school days for safety reasons but open in the evenings, on weekends, and in the summer. For safety, a crosswalk could also be added from the park to the playground.

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