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Paynesville Press - June 2, 2005

School board considers ballpark improvements

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, May 24.

*The board discussed and indicated an interest in improving the high school baseball field. The board was approached by local citizens Chris Stanley, Bruce Stang, and Steve Whitcomb about the possibility of building a grandstand at the park. The men proposed building a grandstand behind home plate with an announcer's area, concession stand, bathroom facilities, and shaded seating. It could be used for high school baseball games, for Paynesville Pirates games, and for football and track activities.

By leasing the field from the school, the Paynesville Pirates hope to increase concessions sales to pay for the grandstand by offering 3.2 beer during amateur baseball games. Beer would only be sold during amateur games. If successful, the amateur baseball club could help with other field improvements at the school.

The board recommended that the administration get feedback from their attorney on the possibility of leasing out the field during summer months so that the amateur team could sell 3.2 beer. It also directed administration to consult with the attorney about possible Title IX impacts. Title IX mandates that schools provide equal facilities to both genders. If the baseball field is improved, Title IX might require that the district offer a similar facility for softball.

*The board approved a five-year plan for facilities and equipment expenses. Improvements for 2005-06 include replacing part of the elementary school roof ($80,000); upgrading technology ($26,352); resurfacing and marking parking lots at the middle and high schools ($25,000); and repairing boilers at both school sites ($13,500). Improvements for 2005-06 total an estimated $346,392.

Quotes are being obtained for necessary boiler repairs, but the district may need to buy a new boiler, superintendent Todd Burlingame told the board. If so, the district may try to patch the roofs again, instead of starting to replace them. The district had hoped the legislature would approve a fund transfer this year from its Debt Redemption Fund to its capital fund, which has a declining balance.

Since that fund transfer seems unlikely, the only way the district could afford to replace a boiler and to start to replace its roofs may be through a facility bond levy, added Burlingame.

*The board approved $1.1 million in aid-anticipation certificates for the 2005-06 school year. Each year, the district borrows against its pending state aid to meet current expenditures.

*The board discussed a proposed health services policy, which would set the length of time students must stay out of school after contracting particular illnesses, list annual screenings, and establish a policy for the administration of medication. The policy includes requirements for at least one day away from school after a temperature of 100 degrees or more, one day after treatment begins for conjunctivitis (pink eye), and six days after the onset of chicken pox.

Board members questioned whether the temperature requirement should be raised to 101 degrees and directed administration to check on a sample policy from the Minnesota School Board Association.

*The board heard an update on plans to expand the courses offered for college credit at PAHS. The Academic Booster Club has contacted colleges and universities in order to review their college-credit offerings and hope to identify the five that best meet PAHS's needs.

*The board approved a part-time teaching contract with Cheryl Wyatt (0.514 FTE) to teach communications in the middle and high schools during the 2005-2006 school year.

*The board approved an employee assignment for special education teacher Sarah Hadrath for 20 summer hours with a special needs student.

*The board approved employee assignments for Jeanne Haag and Rita Garding as van drivers for special education for three weeks in June.

*The board approved the following employee assignments at the fitness center for the summer: Sue Teicher (20 hours/week), Sally Heitke (20), Tricia Buggs (18), Danielle Dickhausen (10), Kelli Woehler (10), Reed Quarfot (3), and Jim Paster (as needed).

*The board approved having Burlingame and district secretary Donna Ahrens help conduct elections, pending mandatory training.

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