Compensatory dollars used to purchase computers

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/13/00.

Thirty-one computers, four printers, and two scanners are among the items being purchased for a new iMac lab in the elementary school with the aid of compensatory funds.

The Paynesville Area School Board approved a revised compensatory education revenue plan for the ele-mentary school, totaling $97,573, at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Compensatory dollars are distributed to the schools by the state. The amount of money is determined by the number of students obtaining free and reduced meals.

The funds must be used to purchase programs to help students keep up with their peers.

While the computer lab will be available for all students to use, its ability to run accelerated reading and math programs qualifies it for compensatory revenue. Accelerated reading and math programs help slower learners catch up with their peers.

Other computer hardware and software to operate the lab will also be purchased. The new iMac lab will be located in a former fifth grade classroom.

Besides the new computer lab, the elementary school is utilizing part of its compensatory funds to pay for a percentage of the salaries of the Title I coordinator and a mental health counselor. Title I is a federal program which gives one-on-one help to slower students.

Resignation request
The board tabled a decision on a resignation request by Danith Clausen, curriculum coordinator. She requested to be released from her contract with the West Central Education District at the end of December.

Clausen is assigned full time to the Paynesville Area School District. She is the district's curriculum coordinator and technology coordinator.

She asked to be released like others before her. She has been offered a position with the Minnewaska School District.

Board chairman Pat Flanders explained that each contract is different and that no precedent has been set to follow in this situation.

Flanders, the local representative to the education district, informed the board that Minnewaska is willing to share Clausen's contract, reducing her time in the Paynesville district.

Clausen felt there would be many difficulties involved in a shared position. "I feel I'm being treated differently than established past practices," she said.

Flanders stressed that past practices has nothing to do with her contract. He explained most people excused from a contract in the past have had exceptional situations such as poor health.

Flanders said it would be difficult for the district to fill Clausen's responsi-bilities dealing with the graduation standards and the Profile of Learning on short notice.

Flanders and superintendent Howard Caldwell were scheduled to meet with representatives at Minnewaska on Tuesday, Dec. 12. They hoped to work out an agreement at that meeting. A board decision awaits the outcome of that meeting.

Other business
•The board approved a revised curriculum review cycle. This cycle determines which programs are up for self-study, evaluation, and purchasing of new equipment and books.

Technology was added to the review cycle as an independent area earlier this year. However, the committee found it difficult to make the new plan workable. Now it has been integrated back into each subject area, like the old plan.

Clausen explained that all the subject areas were examined. The committee tried to equalize the subject areas to spread the dollars out fairly to include technology, she said.

•While discussing the school board convention in January, board member Bob See asked other board members to join him in not going in order to save the district money. He did not feel the board could ask the staff to make cuts, if they did not give up something. See is the only board member not attending the convention.

•Before the regular board meeting, the board held its Truth in Taxation hearing.

Caldwell informed board members the district's property valuations were up $300,000 this year. With higher property values, the district will receive about $28,000 less in homestead credit aid.

The district's levy will increase 9.97 percent for 2001. A breakdown shows the general fund levy will increase 9.08 percent; community service levy, 8.11 percent; and the general debt levy increased 6.41 percent, which includes the building project.

No one attended the hearing.

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