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Paynesville Press - June 30, 2004

School board honors Caldwell for service to district

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, June 22.

*The board passed a resolution honoring superintendent Howard Caldwell for his 15 years of service to the school district. The board hosted a reception for Caldwell, who is retiring, rior to his last board meeting. His last day on the job was Friday, June 25.

*The board approved issuing a $1.915 million General Obligation Aid Anticipation Certificate of Indebtedness to Wells Fargo at a net interest rate of 1.9363 percent. Each year, for cash flow purposes, the school district borrows against its future aid. Wells Fargo was the lowest of three bids for the bonds.

Last year, the district borrowed more (over $2 million) but received a better interest rate (1.17 percent).

*The board approved a budget for the 2004-05 school year. The budget projects a $31,700 general fund deficit for the next school year, which officially starts in July 2004. The Press incorrectly reported that the board passed this 2004-05 budget at its previous meeting. The board reviewed the budget at its first meeting in June and then approved it last week.

2004-05 Budget

Fund Revenue Expenditures

General $8,418,728 $8,450,392

Food Service $389,200 $405,191

Comm. Ed. $256,582 $249,274

Debt Redemption $849,779 $812,668

2003-04 Budget

Fund Revenue Expenditures

General $8,563,919 $8,613,557

Food Service $380,200 $404,485

Comm. Ed. $244,825 $262,143

Debt Redemption $858,245 $818,709

*The board gave authority to the administration to choose a new administrative software. The school district has used Mac School since 1990 but was informed in June that Mac School would not be offering upgrades of their software for Minnesota in 2004-05.

The district uses this software to track attendance and record grades. It produces reports that the district files with the state in order to receive its state aid.

Administration has identified four vendors for new software. So far, they have had one demonstration. Three more were scheduled in the last week. Administrators have also talked with other school districts that use these software programs.

Costs of software range from $4,000 to $25,000 for the initial license and between $3,000 and $10,000 for a yearly maintenance fee. This purchase will come from the district's capital fund.

Administration expects the new software to offer Internet access to parents to monitor their child's attendance and grades. Some software programs might have other features (lunchroom accounts) that the district could use and save on other software fees, said high school principal John Janotta. The district needs to make their choice with an eye to the future, too, since they won't want to switch software again in the near future.

The board granted administration the authority to choose a new software because time is important. The district needs to decide, have it installed, get trained, and get existing data transferred to the new software. They need to have schedules ready by the fall and to be able to track attendance as soon as school starts. The first state reports are due in October.

*The board approved new two-year contracts for principals Deb Gillman and John Janotta and for Community Education director Matt Dickhausen. Gillman and Janotta received 7.2 percent total salary increases over two years. (Similar to the settlement by the teacher's union last year who got 7.25 percent over two years.) Dickhausen, whose hours were increased, received an 8.5 percent increase over two years.

*The board approved a one-year contract with J Colten, Inc., for computer/technology technician services for the 2004-05 school year. Under the contract, the district gets a computer technician two days a week. The cost increase $1,600, or 4.5 percent, from 2003-04.

*The board approved a part-time teacher contract with Michelle Hesse-Cremers as a speech clinician for the 2004-05 school year. Her position is 0.5 FTE.

*The board approved a revised version of the district's harassment and violence policy and a revised version of its hazing prohibition policy.

*The board approved long-term substitute contracts for custodian Michael Schwandt for eight weeks of work.

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