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Paynesville Press - December 3, 2003

District #741 School Board Meeting

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25.

*The board approved raising the graduation requirement at the high school to 90 credits. This change was approved by the high school teaching staff and presented to the board by principal John Janotta.

*The board approved having the district administration to review and consider recommendations for adjustments to the district's budget and programming for the 2004-05 school year.

The district's latest operating plan identifies $230,000 in budget reductions for the 2004-05 school year, in part to compensate for lost revenue due to declining enrollment. The district will graduate 100 seniors in June 2004, who will be replaced by less than 70 kindergartners in first grade next year.

Administrators are expected to review the district's budget in December and bring their recommendations for budget reductions back to the board in January or February.

*The board engaged in a lengthy discussion of whether or not to give high school course credit to eighth graders who take algebra but did not reach a decision, intending to discuss the matter again at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

With the high school raising its credit requirements, eighth graders will need to take three years of math in the high school. Without course credit, eighth graders who take algebra would not have to take algebra again, but they would need to take three years of math, presumably analysis or a college-credit course if one could be added. If they do get course credit, they could conceivably be done with math by the end of their sophomore year.

Since the course is the same for eighth graders and ninth graders, some board members wondered how credit could not be given. But administration reported that districts address this issue both ways, some giving course credits, others not.

The purpose of offering algebra to eighth graders was to challenge those students who would be bored in a regular eighth grade math class, math teacher Todd Spanier told the board. Whichever way the board decides, they should keep encouraging eighth graders to take algebra, he said.

*The board approved a part-time teacher contract (0.314 FTE) for Sarah Kruger, as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher. Kruger already teaches in the district in its Early Childhood Family Education program.

*The board approved the following extracurricular assignments for the 2003-04 school year: Tim Woehler, seventh and eighth grade wrestling; and Trisha Engelke, seventh grade girls' basketball.

*The board approved a long-term substitute assignment for Michael Schwandt as a custodian to last until approximately May 31, 2004.

*The board approved an updated seniority list for the district's seven custodians.

*The board approved an employee assignment for Jackie Utsch in the fitness center, effective Dec. 1.

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