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Paynesville Press - March 31, 2004

School board approves restructuring and budget reduction

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, March 23. *The board approved a restructuring and budget reduction plan for the 2004-05 school year, as recommended by administration. The district aims to reduce its budget by $200,000 for 2004-05, in part to offset a projected $128,000 loss in foundation aid due to declining enrollment.

The restructuring plan calls for the district to operate with a K-5 principal (Deb Gillman) and a 6-12 principal (John Janotta). Current elementary principal Todd Burlin-game will take over as superintendent starting in July, after current superintendent Howard Caldwell retires. This eliminates one principal position from the budget.

The district also will eliminate one teaching position in the middle/high school and one teaching position in the elementary school. (See related story.)

*The board and approved a school calendar for the 2004-05 school year. Teachers start on Monday, Aug. 30, and classes start on Thursday, Sept. 2, before Labor Day. The last day of school is Friday, May 27, with teachers having a workshop day in June.

The only thing not set in the calendar is graduation. The school needs to have its workshop and complete grades before it knows if all seniors have met the requirements for graduation. So graduation could be held over Memorial Day weekend, but then some seniors would not get their diplomas until after the workshop day in the first week of June. Or graduation could be held a week later, on the first weekend in June, when all the fourth quarter grades are known, but this means waiting a week for graduation.

*The board approved a land lease agreement with the city of Paynesville to use district property for the proposed aquatic park. The district has agreed to allow the proposed aquatic park to be built in the athletic field just north of the high school student parking lot.

If the aquatic park is approved by voters and built, the lease would last for an initial term of 40 years. Following that, the lease could be extended by agreement.

The lease calls for the city to level and seed an area equal in size south of the middle school parking lot for a replacement athletic field. Since the high school parking lot would be used by the aquatic park, the city has agreed to help with a quarter of the maintenance costs for the parking lot and the two school service roads (one by the softball fields and the other past the tennis courts).

City and township residents will vote to approve bonding for the pool project (with estimated building costs of $1.25 million) on Tuesday, April 20. If either vote fails and the project is not pursued, the lease agreement becomes null and void.

If the aquatic park is built and then closes for any reason, the city would be responsible to restore the school property.

*The board approved changing the time and location of the meeting on Tuesday, May 11. The board will meet at 2 p.m. in the middle school media center in order to meet with the Youth Advisory Council.

*Board chair Allen Schmidt appointed board member Bonnie Strobbe to serve as the board representative for the yearly review of the district's Teacher PEER Review.

*The board approved a resignation request from Kristi Glup, a part-time speech clinician, effective at the end of the 2003-04 school year.

* The board approved a policy for using peace officers and crisis teams to remove students with IEPs from the school grounds. The state mandated that districts have a policy for this, and the district used a standard policy developed by the Minnesota School Board Association.

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