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Paynesville Press - November 3, 2004

School board learns about equatible school funding

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26.

*The board listened to a presentation from Brad Lundell, the executive director for Schools for Equity in Education. The school district belongs to this group, which aims to insure equitable funding for education for all school districts.

A primary goal of the organization, said Lundell, is having the state pay equity aid so that property tax burdens are relatively fair across the state. Otherwise, tax burdens for residences in wealthy school districts (those with substantial commercial and industrial property) would be much less than tax burdens in property-poor school districts.

Schools for Equity in Education (or, SEE) has 60 member school districts. This year, the organization expects to lobby for increases in state aid as well as some levying authority for school districts, said Lundell. Levying authority would permit school boards to raise property taxes for certain expense areas - like special education, transportation, complying with No Child Left Behind, and even all-day, everyday kindergarten - without needing voter approval.

*The board received a report on open enrolled students in the district. The numbers constantly change, but as of Monday, Oct. 25, the district had 121 students enrolled from other districts and had lost 83 students to other districts. The district lost students to Eden Valley-Watkins (35 enrolled vs. 40 leaving) and was even with Rocori (12 enrolled vs. 12 leaving). But the district has student gains with Albany (17 enrolled vs. three leaving); with ACGC (13 enrolled vs. nine leaving); with BBE (16 enrolled vs. one leaving); and NL-S (24 enrolled vs. 15 leaving).

The district also loses 19 students to home schooling, 19 students to the Alternative Learning Center or other institutions, five students to private schools, and two students to post-secondary option (college). It does have two foreign exchange students this year.

*Board members Tami Stanger and Bonnie Strobbe volunteered for a study group on trends in education. This group - of parents, teachers, administrators, and board members - will look at new ideas in education and whether the district should pursue them.

*The board approved the following winter coaching assignments for the 2004-05 school year: boys basketball - Phil Carlson, head coach; Ross Engelstad, assistant; Rick Houske, ninth grade; Todd Knudsvig, junior high; and Murry Rafferty, junior high; girls basketball - Jackie Parsley, head coach; Brad Nepsund, junior high; Keri Hatlevig, junior high; wrestling - Tim Woehler, head coach; David Kerzman, assistant/junior high; Tracey Piepenburg, assistant/junior high; gymnastics - Deb Nehowig, head coach; Julie Doom, assistant; wrestling cheerleading - Sandy Spanier, head coach; danceline - Barb Werlinger and Jeanne Virant, co-head coaches. The board expects to approve an assistant coach and ninth grade coach for girls basketball at its next meeting.

*The board approved a contract with the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds to rent their gymnasium for the gymnastics team. The cost ($500) is reimbursed to the district by the gymnastics team.

*The board accepted a resignation request from special education teacher Leza Weber, effective Wednesday, Dec. 22. Weber's family is moving to another state. The district plans to use a long-term sub for the rest of the school year, starting in January 2005.

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