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Paynesville Press - July 30, 2003

District #741 School Board Meeting

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

•The board authorized filing dates for the November 2003 board elections. Filings will open on Monday, Aug. 26, and will close on Monday, Sept. 9, at 5 p.m. at the district office at 217 West Mill Street. The filing fee is $2.

Candidates must be 21 years of age on assuming office and must be a resident of the district for 30 days before the election.

Three seats - for four-year terms - will be up for election. Current board members whose terms expire this year are: Maurice Dosdall, Pat Flanders, and Gretchen O'Fallon.

•The board approved a fee schedule for 2003-04.

•The board reviewed a plan by Early Childhood Family Education and School Readiness to offer preschool through Community Education in the 2003-04 school year.

Due to state budget cuts, revenue for School Readiness (formerly called Learning Readiness) was cut in half for 2003-04, principal Deb Gillman told the board. That forced them to choose between offering half as much or finding a new way to offer the program.

School Readiness - meant for children who have been identified in screening as needing some additional skills before starting school - typically has two class periods per week. In previous years, a session was offered in the fall and another in the spring.

One session of School Readiness will still be offered in the spring. In the fall, a self-supporting preschool will be offered through Community Education for children identified as needing help. So far, 16 children have been identified for the program for 2003-04.

The preschool program will be similar to School Readiness except that it will not have an aide. Parents will be asked to volunteer to help at two or three sessions. The cost will be $60 per month for preschool, compared with $40 per month for School Readiness.

The board expressed some concern that the school would be competing with other preschools but were assured that the focus of this preschool will be to help children identified for School Readiness. Board member Deb Glenz, who runs a daycare herself, said that daycares and preschools in town are busy already and that this preschool is just an extension of School Readiness.

•The board approved the following athletic assignments for the fall of the 2003-04 school year: football - Kyle Nehowig, head coach; Ron Fuchs, assistant coach; Tim Woehler, assistant coach; Jerry Hunt, ninth grade coach; Brad Skoglund, junior high coach; Brad Nepsund, junior high coach; and Tom Ludwig, junior high coach; volleyball - Dawn Knoll, head coach; Keri Hatlevig, assistant coach; Liz Brennan, ninth grade coach; Julie Jimenez, junior high coach; and Jackie Spanier, junior high coach; and cross country - Darrel Carstens, head coach.

•The board approved a policy for the Pledge of Allegiance, requiring it at least weekly in the schools. Both the middle school and the elementary school recite it daily, while the high school recites it weekly. The new policy does allow students or teachers to decline to participate.

•The board approved a policy for establishing retirement health care accounts for administrators, as negotiated in their latest contracts. This allows administrators to put their retirement money in a health care plan, saving taxes for the employee and for the school district. The board also approved altering superintendent Howard Caldwell's contract, allowing him to put $25,000 of his severance pay in a health care savings plan. Caldwell intends to retire at the end of the 2003-04 school year.

•The board approved a new school weapons policy. It includes provisions relating to the new handgun law passed by the Minnesota Legislature, including allowing permitted handgun carriers to have a pistol in their vehicle in a school parking lot.

•The board approved a new contract for athletic coordinator Kyle Nehowig for the 2003-04 school year. The contract includes a compensation increase of 2.66 percent.

The board tabled a new job description for the athletic coordinator position.

•The board approved a part-time contract (0.40 FTE) for Kristi Glup as a speech clinician for the 2003-04 school year.

•The board approved an employee assignment for Scott Soupier as a custodian, effective starting in August.

•The board approved a resignation request from Denise Beckstrand, who had been hired as the media specialist in the elementary school.

•The board approved up to 80 additional hours for the head cook at the high school and up to three additional hours for the head cook at the elementary school to prepare the food service departments for the upcoming school year.

•The board approved changing the dates for its December meetings, from the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month to the first and third Tuesdays. The board will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. in the media center at the elementary school and will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. in the media center at the middle school.

•The board will hold its public hearing for its 2003 property tax levy on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in the media center at the elementary school. The make-up date (in case of bad weather) is Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in the same location.

•The board approved student and staff handbooks for the 2003-04 school year for the elementary school, middle school, and high school.

•The board authorized having the superintendent and his secretary help with preparations for the board elections in November 2003.

•The board approved a health and safety program plan for the 2003-04 school year.

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