School board rejects downsizing of staff

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 04/01/97.

The Paynesville School Board rejected a recommendation from Superintendent Howard Caldwell to cut two teachers from the elementary school staff for the 1997-98 school year.

At the March 11 meeting, Caldwell reviewed the class size reductions at the elementary school. ďI sensed that some board members felt uncomfortable with the reductions,Ē Caldwell said. ďIf the board does choose to look at some other options, the elementary principal and myself would recommend cutting back one teacher and adding Title I help. Our financial base in Title I has provided us with an opportunity to possibly do that,Ē he added.

Caldwell recommended leaving five sections in the first grade putting the class sizes at 18 per class and cutting fourth grade to four sections.

Board member Lowell Haagenson told his fellow board members he is still uncomfortable with reducing the size of the staff at the elementary school. He suggested leaving the staff as is.
Board member Dean Hanson said he reviewed the class enrollment for next year and found only 10 fewer students in the elementary school. ďIn no way does that indicate we can function with two less teachers,Ē he said.

ďIf we cut a teacher at the fourth grade level, there would be 27.5 students per section and that level is unacceptable. Those figures are totally against our class size goals. Iím against any reductions,Ē Hanson added.

Hockey agreement
The activity directors from Rocori, Paynesville, Albany and St. Johnís Prep worked on putting together a cooperative hockey agreement. Rocori approved the agreement at their last board meeting.

Caldwell recommended the board take time to review the agreement before finalizing it.

Three teams are planned, boys varsity, junior varsity and girls varsity. The co-op teams will be known as River Lakes Hockey. Rocori will serve as the host school district. Team rosters will be determined by the coaching staffs. There will be no guaranteed roster spots on any of the co-op teams. As host school, Rocori will be responsible for all administrative tasks.

The area youth hockey organizations will be funding the program for the school districts. Gate receipts will be collected by Rocori and distributed to the participating schools at the end of the season on a percentage basis.

Practices will be held at the Richmond Ice Arena and the Paynesville Ice Arena.

After further discussion, the board gave the youth hockey association the go ahead with the co-op agreement and wished them luck on their new venture.

In other business: the board heard about and approved the KEYS program. Mary Minnehan, M.E.A. representative explained KEYS is an acronym for Keys to Excellence for Your Schools.

The middle school staff recommended the district utilize the special program assessment tool to better set goals for the students. The assessment is free to the district and will give the district a clear picture of what is happening in the middle school.

KEYS has identified 35 factors essential to the development and maintenance of a quality education program. KEYS will help identify the extent to which the 35 factors are present in the middle school.

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