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Paynesville Press - Nov. 5, 2003

District #741 School Board Meeting

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Oct 28.

*The board discussed issues of concern with State Senator Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville).

*The board continued its discussions about how the school district should be reorganized for the 2004-05 school year.

Administration gave the board a proposal to divide the two principal duties between K-5 and 6-12, with the K-5 principal (Deb Gillman) also keeping the curriculum coordinator duties. The K-5 principal would supervise 52 staff and 431 students, while the 6-12 principal would have 64 staff and 645 students.

Under this proposal, the Title I teacher would help the curriculum coordinator with curriculum, staff development, and assessments. The athletic director would also be given the title of dean of students and would help the 6-12 principal with discipline. The most discipline issues occur in the high school, current high school principal John Janotta told the board, so the athletic director/dean of students would stay in the high school office.

The administration also proposed that the middle school office be closed after a few months of transition next fall and that Community Education be moved to that location. A pending retirement in the district secretarial staff makes it a good time to close that office, saving money for the district without cutting a staff member, by just not replacing a retiring employee.

The board has already decided to keep the sixth grade at the middle school and to try to keep as much of the middle school concept in place as it can.

Several board members expressed concerns about having one office for grades 6-12. Board member Deb Glenz was the most vocal with concerns about closing the middle school office next year. While the number of students in the middle school will eventually make this change necessary, she preferred a couple years with the office for transition for students and parents.

The board and administration did brainstorm about ways to make it easier to eliminate the middle school office. For instance, since much of the traffic to the office occurs in the morning, the district is considering adding a homeroom period where teachers would take attendance and write make-up slips.

The board did not make a decision about the proposal and expects to continue to discuss its principal duties and organizational options for 2004-05 at its upcoming meetings. *The board was informed by superintendent Howard Caldwell that the district has reached a tentative contract agreement with its teachers.

*The board approved the following athletic assignments for the 2003-04 school year: boys' basketball - Phil Carlson, head coach; Ross Englestad, assistant coach; Rick Houske, ninth grade; Todd Knudsvig, junior high; Murry Rafferty, junior high; girls' basketball - Jackie Parsley, head coach; Keri Hatlevig, assistant coach; Laurie Nepsund, ninth grade; Brad Nepsund, junior high; wrestling - Virg Vagle, head coach; Steve Fuchs, assistant coach; gymnastics - Deb Nehowig, head coach; Diane Nelson, assistant coach; danceline - Jeanne Virant and Barb Werlinger, co-head coaches; wrestling cheerleading - Sandy Spanier, head coach.

The district has two openings for junior high girls' basketball and in wrestling.

*The board changed the date for its first meeting in November from Tuesday, Nov. 11, to Monday, Nov. 10, due to Veteran's Day. The meeting will be held at 8 p.m. in the media center at the elementary school.

*The board approved an increase in hours for instruction aide Joan Blonigen, from 22.5 hours per week to 26 hours per week, starting in mid-November.

*The board approved an updated seniority list for the district's 11 food service employees. *The board approved an updated student transportation safety policy.

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