Students bring issues to board

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/27/00.

Parking problems and the lunch program were two concerns the Youth Advisory Council brought to the Paynesville Area School Board on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 19.

The school board holds afternoon meetings three times a year to meet with the Youth Advisory Council.

Serving on the council are: seniors Tina Barney and Crystal Humbert; junior Maria Janotta; sophomores Ann Stalboerger and Susie Swyter; freshman Kayla Welle; eighth graders Ashley Spanier and Michael Mueller; seventh graders Laura Weidner and Shawn Reinke; and sixth graders Chelsey Kalkbrenner and Randy Leyendecker.

Speaking for the high school students, Maria Janotta said the lunch program was inconsistent. Janotta mentioned that items such as fruit used to be free and served as part of the meal. This year the items cost 25 cents extra and the students need to pay cash, not take it out of their family lunch account. School superintendent Howard Caldwell explained the district had parents who complained about how fast the accounts dwindled. "Some students were over-spending, thus the separation of ala carte from the meal program," he said.

The ala carte items were moved from the meal line to the Munch Hut. Too many products were disappearing when these items were in the food line. This way a cook in the Munch Hut has better control of the items. Janotta and Stalboerger questioned why salads are charged the same price as a meal. Board chairman Pat Flanders told the students that $1.50 is still a cheap meal when he has to pay about $6 at a restaurant. Some students would like to have the option of smaller salads as a side dish to their meal, Janotta and Stalboerger added.

Student parking
With the construction of the auditorium and fitness center, fewer parking spaces are available to students in the north parking lot. The high school representatives complained parking has become a hassle. Some students are parking diagonal while others are parking straight. Even before snow made it impossible to see the lines, students were not parking properly. Tina Barney informed the board that some students were parking three deep and blocking in vehicles.

Caldwell said students need to use common sense. If they are parking three deep, the office needs to be alerted.

Computer lab
The high school students expressed the need for a new computer lab. The students said the keys on the keyboards stick. The computers are slow and outdated. "It takes forever to print a picture," Barney said.

When needing to use a lab for a project, the students have been sent to the middle school because of the shortage of computers in the high school.

Flanders told the students they are painfully aware of the need for a new lab. The technology committee is working with high school principal John Janotta to figure out a way to replace the present lab.

Vending machines
Kim Hess and Brittany Lieser, representing the middle school student council, presented the board with a list of items funded by the money raised through the vending machines in the middle school.

At previous board meetings, the usage of vending machines has been criticized for supporting poor nutrition. The students wanted to inform the board how the money benefits the middle school.

While admitting that the overuse of pop and candy could have health consequences, the students explained the vending machines are only in use after school. They cannot be used as a substitute for lunch.

Last year the middle school raised $1,700 through use of the vending machines. The student council decides how the money is spent.

The funds help finance school parties, eighth grade graduation, and field trips. The money also has been used to help purchase athletic uniforms, and furniture for the media center and lobby, and to buy flowers for faculty members who have a health or family crisis. A donation was also made toward the purchase of a new elementary school scoreboard.

Other business
•The board approved hiring Shane Brown as the middle school FLA advisor and Ken Vork as the three-act play director.

•The second semester Early Childhood Family Education and Learning Readiness staff was approved: Kim Thompson, Becki Quade, Dina Hengel, Diane Gilk, Pam Pfeifer, and Kristi Wessel.

•The board approved funds to bring storytellers to the elementary school. Storyteller Mattie Clarke will present a program in April sharing her legacy with tales and songs from the African-American culture. Another storyteller will present a program to fourth and fifth graders on March 1.

•The board approved funds for Margaret Barnacle and Carol Smith to take part in St. Cloud Area Teachers in Business. They will tour various businesses and bring back information to students about the skills needed in today's work place.

•A reading refresher class will be offered after school to ninth through 12th graders who have not yet passed the reading portion of the Minnesota Basic Skills test. The next testing takes place on Feb. 6. Michelle Andersen will be teaching the course.

•The board approved a 2001 tax levy of $2,227,956. The levy is up 9.97 percent from last year.

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