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Paynesville Press - Sept. 21, 2005

School board election is Tuesday, Nov. 8

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

•The board approved setting the school board election for Tuesday, Nov. 8, with election hours from 3 to 8 p.m. The board agreed to shorten the election hours - with a 3 p.m., not a 12 noon start - because there are only four candidates for four spots this year. Two years ago, the district had 400 voters at the school board election, so the five-hour polling window was felt to be sufficient. This year, incumbents Mark Dingmann, Deb Glenz, and Allen Schmidt have refiled, as well as newcomer Dave Johnson. Incumbent Tami Stanger did not refile.

•The board established a committee to review the district attendance policy, especially at the high school. Board members want to review the perfect/exemplary attendance policy for the high school, which allows students with perfect or exemplary attendance skip their finals.

Board members readdressed concerns that this policy might prompt students who are really sick to attend school when they should not. It also does not address chronic-absentee students, who lose any chance for exemplary attendance right away. One idea is to give the option of skipping finals to students for academic excellence, i.e. based on a certain grade, rather than straight attendance.

Administration will try and draft a policy and then a board/community committee will review it.

•The board heard a request from Veronica Soine, who runs a daycare at her home on Maple Street and wants the district to provide afternoon transportation. Soine said she is willing to pay for the service. One child who attends her daycare has asthma and already receives afternoon transportation on an as-needed basis.

The district has a policy not to provide transportation to students at Paynesville Area Elementary School if they live within the "triangle" formed by Highway 23, Highway 55, and Lake Avenue. But the district can provide transportation if space is available and the stop fits on a bus route.

Superintendent Todd Burlingame will contact the bus contractor to see if this is possible.

•The board approved a cooperative agreement with the Rocori School District to offer agriculture classes and FFA program at PAHS for Rocori students, too. The agreement is for two years: 2005-06 and 2006-07.

Rocori will pay $450 per student per semester class. If Rocori students take at least one ag class per year at PAHS, they can also participate in the FFA program at PAHS.

Ag teacher and FFA advisor Natalie Todnem said two students are enrolled, one more is coming, and one student is trying to recruit more students.

Secondary school principal Lorie Floura said Rocori officials have indicated that they are viewing this as a long-term arrangement and have inquired about next year's schedule. Scheduling a suitable ag class first and fourth hours might help Rocori provide student transportation with minimal disruption to the rest of the student's schedule, noted Floura.

•The board approved the Paynes-ville Area School District Improve-ment Goals for the 2005-06 school year as follows: 1. Create learning opportunities which challenge all students in District #741 (a. local college credits; b. school-to-work program; c. online learning; d. enrichment programs and activities); 2. Create a positive school atmosphere of caring and sharing (a. continue middle school and high school transition; b. implement the "12 Commandments" people who work with people); 3. Implement, revise, and revisit...a. school policies; b. district crisis plan; c. pay equity plan; 4. Continue efforts to improve communications (a. communications with students, staff, parents, and the community; b. utilize Community Education to bridge gap with all groups); 5. Create positive behaviors (school pride, etc.) and discourage negative behaviors (bullying, etc.); 6. Focus on Response to Intervention among our young students and have them working at grade level in reading and math by third grade; and 7. Be fiscally and financially sound and responsible.

Administration will report back to the board during the school year about progress towards these goals.

•The board approved goals for superintendent Todd Burlingame for the 2005-06 school year: to continue to increase his knowledge in school finance and to be fiscally and financially sound while keeping the best interest of the district in the forefront; to continue to improve public relations with on-going communication and visibility with the school board, administrative team, staff, students, parents, and community members; to organize and update school district policies; and to recognize students, staff, board members, parents, administrators, and community members for their efforts in education.

•The board approved a parent/ athlete handbook for the 2005-06 school year. The board approved the other handbooks before the school year started, but athletic coordinator Kyle Nehowig did not have a chance to meet with all the coaches until the teachers returned.

The handbook includes three changes: it allows athletes to pay their fee in three equal payments and specifies that students can work for scholarships by assisting the athletic department (in the office, at games, etc.); it limits the amount the district will pay towards lodging at state tournaments to $80 per room (participants or booster clubs would need to pick up any additional cost); and it specifies that the school will organize welcome-home celebrations only for teams that go to a state tournament (not individuals) and that these will be held upon the team's arrival back to Paynesville.

Copies of the full handbook are available in the athletic office, and the document will be made available online on the school's website at

•The board heard verbal reports from Floura and elementary principal Deb Gillman. Floura noted that the ABC Booster Club will hear proposals from four colleges this month about offering college-credit classes and that she and counselor Jackie Campbell were working on a going-to-college page on the school's website to get information about testing, scholarships, etc., to parents. Gillman reported that the second-year looping class in third grade was off to a fast start, that the multi-age K-1 classroom was going well after spending time building a "community," and that the district faced a big year in purchasing with music K-12, media K-12, math 6-12, and language arts K-5 in review.

•The board approved an assignment for Amy Jech as the teacher for the Community Education preschool program with Tammy Neu as the paraprofessional.

•The board approved the ECFE staff for the 2005-06 school year as follows: parent educator Tricia Buggs, child educator Amy Jech, and paraprofessional Tammy Neu.

•The board approved assigning Buggs as the ECFE/WIC coordinator for the 2005-06 school year.

•The board approved assigning Diane Gilk as a screening assistant for preschool for 2005-06.

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