Area News | Home | Marketplace | Community

Return to Archived Stories

Paynesville Press - May 22, 2002

Board rescinds motion, keeps three principals

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board rescinded a motion to put middle school principal Deb Gillman on unrequested leave for the 2002-03 school year, meaning she will remain in the school district in an administrative capacity.

The board voted to cut the middle school principal position in February. Cutting the 0.68 full-time equivalent position was supposed to save the district $63,500 in 2002-03.

When the cut was made, Gillman did not have her licensure as an elementary principal, which was why she was put on unrequested leave instead of elementary principal Todd Burlingame, who has less seniority. Since then, Gillman has completed her elementary principal licensure.

The district did seek legal opinions regarding the matter, which the district did not disclose due to attorney-client privilege. "The bottom line," said superintendent Howard Caldwell, "is that the board did not want to see a change in the elementary principal at this point."

Due to the cost of legal proceedings and the need for more administrative help anyway, the district will create a principal on special assignment role for Gillman, according to Caldwell.

That means the cut of the middle school principal will stand, with the elementary principal (Burlingame) responsible for grades K-6 next year and the high school principal (John Janotta) responsible for grades 7-12.

As building principals, Janotta and Burlingame will be responsible for supervising students and teachers in those grades. "To be quite honest, we have a load there that's going to be very difficult to manage," said Caldwell.

As a principal on special assignment, Gillman would keep her role as the district's curriculum coordinator, a task at which she currently spends about a third of her time. In this capacity, she is responsible for the district-wide curriculum, for helping with the six-year curriculum review cycle, and for embedding the Profile of Learning throughout the curriculum.

Caldwell said the curriculum coordinator position would be a difficult job for someone new to learn. Earlier this spring, the district offered Gillman the curriculum coordinator position along with a part-time teaching load to combine to a full-time position.

Caldwell plans to have Gillman be the district-wide testing coordinator (including for standardized tests like the Minnesota Basic Skills Tests and the Minnesota Compre-hensive Assessments) and to supervise federal programs like Title and Early Childhood Family Education.

"I will do the best job in whatever capacity the board sees fit," said Gillman.

By using Gillman to supervise these programs, Caldwell said he hoped to pay the extra administration salary with federal dollars as much as possible and keep the impact to the district's general fund to a minimum.

The district will save an additional $20,000 in salaries in 2002-03 due to cuts in the art department following the finalization of the school schedule, Caldwell noted, helping to offset the cost of the additional principal position.

District #741 School Board Meeting Highlights
The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, May 14. The board met at 2 p.m. in the middle school media center to meet with the student advisory council.

*The board rescinded a previous motion to put Deb Gillman on unrequested leave. The move means the district will employ Gillman in an administrative capacity in the 2002-03 school year. (See story on page 2.)

*The board approved adjusting the 2002-03 contract for art teacher Carol Lura from 0.971 FTE to 0.586 FTE. This was not part of the budget reductions but was due to the demand for high school art after the high school scheduling. This reduction in teacher time represents an additional $20,000 savings for the district for the 2002-03 school year.

*The board approved these staff adjustments, due to budget reductions, for the 2002-03 school year: Sandy Carstens from 2,308.2 hours to 1,176 hours; Patsy Fenske from 1,365 hours to 975 hours; Jo Flanders from 1,239 hours to 1,075 hours; Nan Looman from 1,118 hours to 860 hours; Alice Nyhlen from 1,118 hours to 889 hours; and Brenda Whitcomb from 1,736 hours to 1,589 hours.

*The board approved an updated budget for the 2001-02 school year. The main change was a $185,000 adjustment in expenditures from the previous update budget in December.

Those expenditure adjustments were $140,000 from the teacher settlement and $40,000 from an overlooked grant expense. The 2001-02 budget now predicts a $274,000 general fund deficit, whereas the previous budget showed only an $88,000 deficit.

*The board was informed of the district's effort to get 100 students to sign waivers to ride the bus for 2002-03. If this happens, the district would consider not charging students for parking in the high school lot, as was approved during the budget reduction process.

Instead of charging students $50 per year for parking, raising an estimated $7,500, if 100 students would sign the waiver, another bus route could be eliminated, saving $8,300.

*The board approved letting bids to replace and upgrade a section of the roof at the middle/high school building.

*The board acknowledged requests from Matt Dickhausen, director of Community Education, and the principals to negotiate new contracts. Their present contracts expire on July 1, 2002.

*The board approved Introductory Physical Science assignments for the summer to Jay Thompson for one week and to Wayne Hansen for four weeks.

*The board approved an extended employment assignment for special education teacher Alycia Long for 32 hours of teaching and seven hours of preparation this summer.

*The board met with members of the student advisory committee. Junior Ann Stalboerger and sophomore Kayla Welle will join the board's meet and confer committee when it sets the school calendar for 2003-04. *The board approved a policy for the retention of special education records. From now on, the school will keep special education student records until three years beyond the student's 21st birthday. At that time, all records except for the final IEP and evaluation record will be destroyed. The records will not be destroyed upon request from a student or parent. Parents and students will be informed of the new policy when dismissed from special education services, when graduating, or when aging out of school. *The board approved a new five-year plan for capital expenditures (facility and equipment).

Contact the author at   •   Return to News Menu

Home | Marketplace | Community