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Paynesville Press - March 2, 2005

School board discusses funding with legislators

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

*The board discussed educational issues, particularly funding, in front of the Minnesota Legislature with local representatives Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) and Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph). (See related story)

*The board continued discussion about a policy for the Admission of Transfer Students and Acceptance of Credits. Added to the proposed policy was an introduction stating the goal: to welcome students to the district and to work with families to evaluate credit experiences that will lead to graduation.

The proposed policy lists how transfer students, including homeschooled students, would be placed in the school district and would allow credit to nonaccredited classes for graduation purposes if warranted.

One controversial aspect of the policy would be to give class rank only for students who attend an accredited institution throughout high school. Staff and administration have argued that class rank is a comparative measure and that home-school or non-accredited classes are not be a fair comparison. These students would still get a GPA from PAHS, just not a class rank.

Parent Laura Thompson urged the board to reconsider this part of the proposed policy, saying that class rank was used by colleges for scholarship and that it would not be fair to students who earn a majority of credits at PAHS not to be ranked with their peers. Thompson supports the proposed policy otherwise, but wishes the class rank requirement would be more inclusive.

*The board heard two half-hour proposals for a facility audit from Siemens and Energy Services Group. The idea would be to look at capital investments in the school buildings that would repay themselves quickly through energy savings or other efficiencies, including more efficient lighting, more efficient bathroom fixtures (to save water), window and roof improvements, etc.

If the school district hires a company for a facility audit, they would conduct a detailed audit of the school buildings.

*The board accepted retirement requests from middle school teacher Wayne Hansen (34 years) and elementary school teacher Margaret McLaughlin (26 years in the district), effective at the end of the 2004-05 school year. The board thanked both teachers for their service to the district, and chair Allen Schmidt noted that McLaughlin had been his first grade teacher and Hansen his fifth grade teacher.

In addition to Hansen and McLaughlin, teachers Ann Lundgren and Murry Rafferty and principal John Janotta previously announced their retirements at the end of this school year.

*The board approved the following athletic coaching assignments for the spring of the 2004-05 school year: track - Todd Spanier, boys head coach; Dave Randgaard, girls head coach; Kyle Nehowig, assistant; Jackie Parsley, junior high; baseball - Brad Skoglund, head coach; Tom Ludwig, assistant; Chad Campbell, junior high; Brad Nepsund, junior high; softball - Tim Woehler, head coach; Ross Englestad, assistant; Keri Hatlevig, junior high; Rick Houske, junior high; golf - Ron Fuchs, head coach; Jeff Meyer, assistant.

*The board accepted the resignation of Kris Lang as an assistant for ECFE, School Readiness, and preschool and hired Tamy Neu as her replacement. The board had previously approved hiring Lang as an instructional aide at PAES.

*The board approved hiring Jane Stoneburner as a van driver for special education.

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