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|Paynesville Press - December 28, 2005|
School board approves levy and easement agreement
The Paynesville School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20.|
*The board approved their final tax levy for 2006, which totals $1,456,763.97 (up $176,525 from last year's levy, a 13.79 percent increase). The levy has not changed since the proposal was first approved in September. Levy story
*The board approved a five-foot easement agreement with the township and city for a section of trail to be constructed along Burr Street (east of the athletic facilities). This section of trail will be part of the recreational trail from the city to Lake Koronis, and the school will accept payment of $1 for the easement. The paved trail will be eight-feet wide, with two-foot shoulders on both sides, but the easement on school property is only five-feet wide because most of the trail will be located in the street right-of-way.
*The board heard concerns from the middle school and high school youth advisory councils. (The board met at 2 p.m. in the afternoon in order to meet with the students.)
The middle school council recommended a change to the honor roll qualifications to make them the same as the high school's standards. (Though all students in grades 6-12 need a 3.0 GPA to earn "B" standing on the honor roll, middle schoolers need a 3.667 GPA for the "A" honor roll, while high schoolers need only a 3.5 GPA.)
The seven students also suggested shower curtains in the boys' lockerroom and longer breaks between classes, saying teachers will not always allow students to leave class when needed.
Additionally, the middle school youth advisory council indicated support for changes in the way lunch periods are run (which is already being worked on), asked for more food choices (like fruit cups, yogurt, and pudding), and learned about United States Department of Agriculture guidelines when they requested larger food portions.
Lunch choices were also discussed by the high schoolers, who emphasized not only the need for more options, but for them to be healthy choices, such as more soup, a self-serve salad bar, and more vegetarian options. They suggested surveying students to see if they would be willing to pay more for lunch in order to have more options and plan to form a committee with food service workers to help plan lunch menus.
The Academic Booster Club's efforts to bring more college classes and other advanced options to the high school were encouraged by the high school youth advisory council, and requests for elective classes included French as a language option and more fine arts classes, like drama and photography. Increasing the number of credits to graduate was discussed, as an alternative to allowing early graduation if requirements had been fulfilled, which was suggested and then put aside as the disconnect such students feel from their classmates was discussed. Extracurricular activities like marching band, debate, knowledge bowl, and science olympiad were supported, as well as sports like tennis and lacrosse.
As a safety precaution, having more cameras outside, especially in the student parking lot, was recommended, and students asked for the opportunity to make the building more colorful and inviting. They would like to see repainting of the high school lockers and student involvement in creating murals on walls. One idea they hope to implement would allow students to bring a design for approval and then paint the design on one of the ceiling tiles, which would then be put back into the ceiling. It was suggested that students be given the option of buying their tiles when they graduate.
While sharing with the board, the students asked for transcripts, including class rank, to be available online and to stay updated, which would given them quicker turnaround while filling out forms and applications. The school now has a program with this capability but the time-consuming data entry to make them available has not been done, the students were informed.
Concerns about drugs in the school prompted a request for a liaison officer to patrol the hallways and suggestion boxes so students can feel comfortable making concerns clear anonymously. Lock boxes will be provided for this from the supply of school board election boxes.
Exploratory/community service days, like those previously offered in the middle school, were advocated. The students said that these offer an opportunity to experience new things, as they stay for in-school projects or take short field trips, while being fairly inexpensive. The service also provides a positive sense of accomplishment, they shared.
Having a school-organized, but student-funded senior trip was suggested, with the students saying that this would be a nice final activity with their classmates that could deter students from a self-organized senior skip day.
The high school youth advisory council plans to continue meeting every three weeks or so to follow up on these ideas and to generate new ones.
*The board approved a resolution to end its part in discussions about the ninth grade basketball coaching position.
*The board approved the expulsion of a student for the remainder of the school year, effective starting in January, as school resumes after the holiday break.
*The board approved hiring Sheryl Schmiginsky as an employee in the fitness center, for an average of 12 hours per week.
*The board approved resolutions on structural balance for with which unions it has negotiated contracts: the local teaching, food service, and custodial employees' unions, confirming that funding is available for those contracts to be fulfilled.
*The board tabled a decision on a one-year contract with activities coordinator Kyle Nehowig , while a consensus is still being worked out.
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