School board: Summer recreation fees reviewed

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/2/99.

Steve Brisendine, community education director, brought a proposal to the board concerning the summer recreation program.

"For five years we have had a verbal agreement with the city of Paynesville and Paynesville Township to help share the cost equally (usually about $3,000 each)," Brisendine said. "This went well for three years. At the end of the 1997 program, I billed the township for $3,000 and only received $1,300. Last year, I billed them $3,060 and received $2,000."

Brisendine was told by the township officers that since community education paid a reduced rate for use of the arena for ice skating last winter, the township paid a reduced rate for summer recreation.

Community education was billed $1,762 for ice time ($75 rate) during the 1998-99 school year. Upon receiving the bill, Brisendine negotiated to pay $775 for 23.5 hours of arena rental. According to Brisendine, community education still lost $500 after paying instructors. If they had paid the full rate, the shortfall would have been about $1,500.

Don Pietsch, Paynesville Township supervisor, feels there has been a lot of miscommunication between the town-ship and Brisendine. "We need to sit down and talk about the fees and what the township can afford," Pietsch said in a telephone conversation with the Press.

"We have an application deadline of Dec. 15 for organizations asking for donations. Then at the second meeting in March we decide who gets a donation and how much," Pietsch explained.

"The community education depart-ment seems to be a year behind on their requests," Pietsch said. "I was under the impression that the requests were for the upcoming year's expenses, not for the previous year." According to Pietsch, the township board felt they were donating $1,000 in ice time to the district.

Pietsch said presently the issue is how the two entities can cooperate and communicate better. Warren Nehring, Paynesville Township supervisor, said it's their township policy that they give out no more than 10 percent of their total revenue in donations.

"I don't think it's right for a group to ask for funds after the fact. Community education should submit an application like the others. Besides, other townships should also be involved to help cover expenses, not just Paynesville Township," Nehring said. "I think the district should levy for the funds so everybody is treated equally or charge the townships according to the useage."

Nehring said the board feels that if the school district wants the township to be involved in the school projects, the school should be involved in township projects.

Brisendine would like to start over with a clean slate and build a new relationship with Paynesville Township for the summer of 1999. "I've tried contacting the township officers but I haven't heard back from them," he told the school board.

There are between 400 and 500 youth from outside the city who take part in the summer recreation program. Brisendine suggested that if an agreement can't be reached, the district charge an additional $6 per activity to all area township residents. The added rate is an attempt to have the budget break even.

Since the 1999 summer recreation programs are already out to the public, the board decided to continue negotiations with the township. If negotiations fail, the new rate structure could go into effect the summer of 2000.

Spanish trip
A proposal for a Spanish class trip and funding was discussed. David Wilke, Spanish instructor, said he would like to give the Spanish students an opportunity equal to what the German students have.

Wilke explained the trip would expose the students to the Spanish culture, language, and to a different political system.

"Students will need to be in their third year of Spanish or have completed three years of Spanish to be eligible for the trip," Wilke said.

Countries being considered for the trip are: Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela.

Wilke informed the board the trip would take place in June every other year.

The board was concerned about the additional expense of paying for the teacher's time after school was out. They considered adding the expense to the cost of the trip.

Board chairman Pat Flanders said he was in favor of the trip, because it would be a fantastic experience. However, he would like to see a budget as to what the trip will cost the district and students.

Wilke estimates the trip will cost between $1,500 and $1,800, depending on the destination. Mexico would be the least expensive.

The next school year is the first time Spanish III will be offered.

The board requested Wilke to bring them more information on the expenses.

In other business:
•Superintendent Howard Caldwell informed the board that by February 2000, the district could expect cash flow concerns. In July, he would bring a proposal for anticipation certificates which would help alleviate the crunch.

•The board approved hiring D.L.R., education facilities consultants, of Minneapolis, as their architectural firm to assist the district in a proposed building project for the performing arts center/fitness center.

•The board accepted the resignation of Steve Brisendine, community education/ athletic director.

•The board approved a contract for Joan Nevitt, Glenwood, middle school/high school information media specialist. She will replace Lindsay Hull who is retiring at the end of the school year.

•The board approved a maternity/child care leave for AnnMarie Stevens effective Aug. 30 to Oct. 29.

•The board accepted the resignation of Eric Hellman, custodian, effective June 4.

•The board approved a staff development grant for the reading renaissance/accelerated reading work-shop for third and fifth grade teachers and the elementary librarian.

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