Middle school to develop website

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/05/00.

By the time school starts, the Paynesville Area Middle School hopes to have its own website on the Internet.

The Paynesville Area School Board approved a grant proposal from Dawn Knoll, middle school civics teacher, to create the website with several links. According to Deb Gillman, middle school principal, their goal is to have the website operational by the time school starts in September.

The purpose of the website is to provide another way of communicating between the staff, parents, and students. The website will feature information on graduation standards, a school calendar, an events page, and lists of homework assignments and major tests for each grade level.

According to the application, the website will provide a medium to present the school to district residents and nonresidents. "As we face an era of declining enrollment, a website gives others the opportunity to investigate our school and community," Knoll stated in her application.

As staff members are trained, they will help Knoll update the website with information from their grade level and curriculum.

The board also approved joining the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center cooperative.

There are 17 learning areas offered at the center including team building and leadership courses," said Tim Woehler, an eighth grade science teacher. "The facility is only 20 minutes away and is a nice resource to have available."

Included in the membership is a reduction in the cost for all programs offered by the center, training in the instruction of challenge courses, and a newsletter.

The cost of the first year's membership will come from the middle school's budget.

School construction
After learning the contingency fund was healthier than originally thought, the board approved reinstating five items that had been eliminated last month

The contingency fund jumped from $49,000 to $192,000. Architect Troy Spanier explained the additions in the contingency fund were $70,000 from the state health and safety department to help correct the ventilation system in the present school basement; $28,000 to be raised through a levy for the elevator shaft; $100,000 in earned interest income; and $20,000 from a donation for the sound system.

With a healthy contingency fund, Spanier recommended the board reinstate five of the seven items that were eliminated at the last school board meeting. There are now enough funds to cover the $76,000 price tag for air conditioning without borrowing from the capital expenditure account.

The board reinstated the display cases, projection screens, plastic toilet partitions, weight room mirrors, and pine stage floor. Spanier said the pine flooring would be a nicer surface and more durable. The district would be replacing the plywood twice as often as pine, Miller said.

The board did not reinstate sodding, opting to seed the lawn around the addition. They also passed on flame retardant for the auditorium seating. "The seating would be more comfortable without the flame retardant. With the retardant, it would be like sitting on cardboard," Spanier added.

In addition, the district approved retaining an acoustic deck panel for $3,000. Spanier also said a roofing change could save $5,000.

Other business
•The board approved a resolution calling for the sale of aid anticipation certificates for 2000 in the amount of $1.9 million, the maximum amount allowed by the state. The amount is based on the cash flow analysis of the district.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell said there is minimal risk and it is good business to earn interest income. The district will be borrowing against its state aid, hoping to make extra money by earning more interest than it pays. The district will have 13 months to use the money before it needs to be paid back with interest.

•The board approved hiring additional aides for the kindergarten and ECFE program.

This year there were only 75 students in the kindergarten program. As of June 15, there are 91 students enrolled in kindergarten for the 2000-01 school year. In that group, there are eight identified as special needs students and 10 at-risk students.

•The board approved the budget for the 2000-01 school year. The revenue budget is projected to total $9,372,032 and the expenditure budget, $10,003,761. The projected deficit is $631,729. For the third year in a row, the district approved a deficit budget.

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