School board reviews proposal by Eden Valley-Watkins district

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 11/24/98.

The Paynesville Area School District received a proposal from the Eden Valley/Watkins (EVW) School District to consider possibly operating joint secondary programs and facilities.

With the letter, Fred Nolan, EVW superintendent, and Frank Eder, board chair, also sent a 15-page outline of the EVW educational facility task force report for the board to review.

The EVW task force identified about 12 educational needs for their district. The task force recommended the board approach neighboring districts about the possibilities of operating joint secondary programs and facilities before pro-ceeding with any facility building or remodeling.

Letters of inquiry were also sent to Litchfield, Rocori, and Kimball. Kimball replied they could not respond to their letter until after Jan. 22, 1999. Litchfield has already responded to EVW that they are not interested in pursing anything at this time.

According to Nolan, in an article in the Eden Valley-Watkins Journal Patriot, a positive response from any of the districts could mean possible building of a new high school (grades 10-12 or 9 to 12) or operating current or remodeled facilities as magnet programs in grades 10 to 12.

During the 1997-98 school year, EVW had 883 students enrolled in grades K to 12. By the year 2002, the enrollment is projected to drop to 756. EVW is currently graduating about 75 students per class and starting 52 in kindergarten.

In order for the two school districts to be eligible for state funds to help with a new building proposal or remodeling, they would need to meet certain guidelines.

Paynesville Superintendent Howard Caldwell informed the board that he didnít think Paynesville met the state statute guidelines to obtain incentive grant money to help with any new secondary facility.

According to the statutes, a minimum of two or more districts canít have an enrollment of more than 1,200 students. Paynesville has an enrollment of over 1,300.

The board decided they could not respond at this time, but wants to keep the door open for future possibilities.

School audit
The districtís general fund balance showed a favorable difference between expenditures and revenue this year according to a report presented by Alan Habben, school auditor Habben presented the 1998 fiscal audit report to the board.
Habben informed the board that overall revenues were more than what was budgeted by $149,716 and expenditures were under budget by $328,825 showing a favorable variance of $478,541.
Even though the total fund balance (all accounts) dropped $504,622 from last year, the district still has a balance of $1,114,851 in the general fund. Caldwell explained that the fund balance drop came as a result of spending more than $400,000 in technology improvements.
The district has $7,020,000 left on the prinicple in their long-term debt of outstanding bonds. The district paid a total of $683,187 (principle and interest) on the debt during the 1997-98 fiscal year. The long-term debt will be paid off by 2017. The principle and interest left to be paid totals $12,872,775.

In other business:
ēThe board approved hiring Bob Cushman to do occasional chemical dependency counseling for high school students identified as students-at-risk. Funds would be provided from the State Learners at Risk/Violence Prevention Revenue.

High School Principal John Janotta informed the board the students-at-risk are identified from rules infractions. The Paynesville Police or Stearns County Sheriffís Department are required to inform the school chemical team about any infractions.

ďCushman will be available to help direct students toward better solutions. Some of the students have been in chemical treatment and this added service will provide them help to stay chemically free,Ē Janotta said. Paynesville has seven identified students for the program.

ēThe district discussed the policy for the activities/community education director to attend national conventions. The board approved his trip to the national convention in December but no decision was made about future trips.

ēThe board accepted the resignation of Sarah Winter as community education coordinator, effective Dec. 7. Winter informed the board she has accepted a position with Westonka School District in Mound.

ēSuperintendent Caldwell reviewed the long-term medical leave situation with the board. At present, three faculty members are out for medical reasons: Lois Kulzer, Connie Backes, and Al Hubred. Michelle Andersen will be taking her maternity leave in March.

ēThe board approved a long-term substitute contract for Lora Larson. She will be teaching Connie Backesí fourth grade class until Jan. 29.

ēThe board approved the following athletic assignments: Pat Deegan, assistant girls basketball; Dave Randgaard, ninth grade girls basketball; Dave Dziengel, eighth grade boys basketball; and Kyle Nehowig, ninth grade gymnastics.

ēThe board approved changing Pam Wilderís custodial contract from part time to full time.


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