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Menahga School discusses building project

This preliminary floor plan for the new Menahga School building project provides more gymnasium space and a community center and would sit on the south side of the current building. (Submitted photo)

The Menahga School Board agreed Monday that the proposed building expansion project needs more teacher, staff and the community's input before finalizing a layout.

"The more we can discover, the more we keep shifting it around," superintendent Jerry Nesland said.

The new building would sit on the south side of the current building. The plan is to provide adequate gymnasium space with handicap accessibility, a community center and more classrooms.

"It's going to provide a lot of activities and opportunities," Nesland said.

Approximated square footage for the current layout of the proposed project is 50,000 square feet.

Once the board determines final square footage based on students' needs, teachers and staff suggestions, the district's finance manager Ehlers & Associates can finalize the costs and tax impact.

If the board proceeds, Nesland said the building project would be levied in 2011.

To gather citizens' input, the Menahga Horizons team will present a layout of the school building project at a community get-together on Thursday, April 30 at 5:45 p.m. Location will be determined at a later date, check future Enterprise editions for more information on the event.

"People want to make an informed decision," chairman Durwin Tomperi said. "They do that by asking questions" at public forums.

In other business:

-Nesland emphasized there will be no teacher layoffs in the future as a cost saving measure.

Because of the rising enrollment numbers in the elementary, the district won't consider the option of teacher layoffs, Nesland said.

Therefore other budget cuts will come from shifting resources, meaning there will be less hours worked at the high school and more in the elementary.

Each week the administration will come up with new ideas and by May, everything will be laid out to the board, he said.

-High school principal Mary Klamm reported that registration will begin soon and a survey was conducted to find out what electives students are interested in.

According to the survey, the majority of students are interested in wildlife management, woodworking and Spanish I and II. Results of the survey will help the high school staff create a schedule for next year.

-Klamm announced the elimination of study hall at the high school and instead, devoting 10 minutes of study time at the end of each class.

"In examining the research around the effectiveness of study halls, I could not find a single body of research that supports that the traditional high school study hall positively affects students achievement," Klamm said.

She added that by doing her own research in Menahga, most students spend study hall reading magazines, sleeping, playing cards or talking.

-Klamm announced Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) tests were given starting March 17 and will end April 30.

-The board approved mechanical ventilation bids for a total of $1,989,405. Work will begin this summer.

-The board carried a motion to support federal advocacy resolution for the district to urge the Legislature and the governor to inform the federal government of Minnesota's intent to consider a withdrawal from participation in the No Child Left Behind Act if a reframing of the statue is not completed by October 2010.

-After discussion to begin school a week early this fall, the board adopted two school calendars to present the Legislature. One starting Sept. 1 and the second Sept. 8.

Because of the extensive summer remodeling project, "We need to caution ourselves," Tomperi said.

The board will find out which calendar is approved in June.

-The board agreed to pay the Mahnomen school district for 400 hours of superintendent consulting services in the year 2009-2010. Nesland will work full-time for Mahnomen instead of having two part-time jobs with both districts.