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Menahga School District seeks input from public

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The Menahga School District is encouraging public input through new monthly round table discussions.

The first round table was Monday night before the regular school board meeting. Participants discussed the school board's goals for 2009-10. Of the five goals, only the first two were discussed before time ran out. The participants said they would like to meet monthly to continue the round table talks.

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The first goal was for staff to examine data and set an achievement benchmark that will show a 10 percent improvement on MCA tests for reading and math.

The objectives for the first goal are for teachers to examine achievement data and use research to improve instructional practices.

The second goal for 2009-10 was to effectively communicate the need for additional space and its financial impact to address growth needs of the Menahga School District.

The objective was to unify the community in support of passing a bond issue for the purpose of constructing additional classrooms, physical education, extra-curricular and community facilities.

The bond issue failed twice - Nov. 3 and April 13 - and the board will be discussing how to proceed in the future.

Later, during the regular school board meeting, the board discussed the failed referendum. In moving forward, members of the board will select community members to be part of a committee to discuss building issues and how to proceed.

A round table discussion will be held again next month before the regular school board meeting.

In other business, the board:

n Canvassed the votes for the election April 13. Question one had 549 votes in favor and 586 against, with seven blank or defective ballots. Question two had 529 votes in favor and 600 votes against with 13 blank or defective ballots.

n Heard from Menahga resident Jon Kangas during the public comment section of the meeting.

He said he wrote to the school board in January to complain about false or misleading information coming from the school. A claim was made about the district getting profit from open enrollment, Kangas said. He didn't agree.

Misleading information continued to be published in local Web sites, on the school's Web site and in school mailings, he said.

He asked the school board to investigate the source and intent of the false or misleading information and take appropriate action.

Kangas also accused the Park Rapids Enterprise and Review Messenger of running articles that "read more like a script from the district office than an unbiased report."

n Gave Superintendent Mary Klamm the authority to work on the development of a new strategic plan for the district, not to exceed $5,000. Klamm will find a facilitator to work with the board on a long- term strategic plan.

n Heard that Blue Cross Blue Shield renewal rates will not increase. This is due to staff not having any major illnesses and generally being healthy.

n Approved a request by the Region 16C Lake and Pines Baseball League to have a tournament during the first two weekends in August.

The board approved the use of the school's fields contingent upon the region being in compliance with permits, making sure there is proof of insurance and leaving the fields in the same shape they were found.

The baseball team must pay a fee for the night games, which covers lighting and field preparation.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561
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