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Reductions are approved for PR School District

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news Park Rapids, 56470

Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

BY JEAN RUZICKA

The Park Rapids School Board approved proposed administrative and district reductions as well as “right sizing” changes in staff for the next school year at Monday’s meeting.

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The “fiscal adjustments” for the 2013-14 school year call for reducing $135,834 in administration and district costs and a $189,943 “adjustment” in certified staff costs, totaling $325,777.

The certified staff reductions “are timely,” superintendent Lance Bagstad told the board, “due to contractual issues.”

He stressed the move is “right sizing, based on enrollment” in the high school versus grade school. Century Elementary has a higher enrollment per grade than their high school counterparts. “As the grade school moves up, we can right size the opposite way.”

The procedure is subject to “due process,” the parties given a 14-day period to request a hearing.

“Right-sizing” decisions for the 2013-14 school year include non-renewal of the contract for Shari Emerson, an art teacher, because the teacher she replaced is returning, Bagstad explained.

Social studies teacher Scott Petrowski and Stacey Klinkhammer, a math teacher, were placed on an “unrequested leave of absence.”

Susan Cassidy’s position as an English as a Second Language teacher was also cut.

Notices were sent to the teachers with a date of hearing, if requested.

A position in the elementary was eliminated as was a half-time special education position, both “shift absorption” measures.

Bagstad said there is a possibility the positions will be reinstated, depending on programs and student numbers.

“This was not easy to do,” board chair Sherry Safratowich stressed. “But we are running a business.”

In other action, the board:

n Applauded the PTA’s initiatives during the school year.

“We could not do what we’re doing without the PTA,” Safratowich said, asking that members be invited to the meeting, “to thank them directly.”

n Heard from The Wreck’s board members Molly Aukes and Matt Kaufenberg, who reported the proposed youth and family center has not yet received non-profit status.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been contacted on the matter. “We can’t move forward until we’re recognized as a nonprofit,” Aukes explained.

The mission of the group is “to provide a fun and safe center in which all youth can engage in physical activity and families can connect, play and discover.”

The group is looking at a building to remodel, Aukes said, and has been meeting with a contractor to discuss costs.

Board member Karol Savage commended the board for looking at existing buildings rather than constructing. But she cautioned the process of gaining nonprofit status can take three to five years.

The target audience ranges from families with young children to high school age to civic organizations involved with youth.

The proposed uses include an indoor walking track, conference and birthday party rooms, office space, an area for supervised custodial visits, a daycare center and parent resource room. Rooms could be used for Bible studies and craft groups, for example, with a snack bar and coffee shop offering refreshments.

Surveys, Aukes pointed out, document a need for this type of facility.

“I think this is awesome,” Safratowich said, noting she has a friend who takes her children to the Detroit Lakes facility for exercise.

The Wreck is based on the Detroit Lakes family center.

“We’ve needed this for a long time,” Dennis Dodge said. “It’s fantastic.” He suggested updating polls on the need for this type of facility in the community to validate future funding requests.

n Learned $5,000 has been donated for cosmetology-related scholarships on behalf of Bonnie Carpenter.

Scholarships of $1,000 each will be distributed over a five-year period, or until funds are distributed.

Carpenter was the owner of the Bon Sheri salon.

n Reported May 31 will be a student day due to an additional snow day.

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