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Uniforms could return for gym at middle school

New Park Rapids Area School District teachers were introduced to the School Board Monday. From left are Zach Holsman, K-4 physical education teacher; Jenny Corbin, first grade teacher; Chelsey Pederson, third grade teacher; Allison Spahn, first grade teacher and Jeannie Mayer, second grade teacher. Not pictured: Jamie Simon-Linkowitz, half time English as a Second Language teacher. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Park Rapids middle school students could be required to wear uniforms for physical education classes once again.

Century School Principal Joleen De La Hunt suggested the change at Monday's Park Rapids Area School Board meeting.

De La Hunt said she was approached by the physical education teachers for grades 5-8 at Century. They explained to her that it can be a struggle determining what's appropriate and this would take the guesswork out of it.

Staff is looking at plain black mesh shorts that go to the knee and white or gray t-shirts. The cost would be $10.

"I understand it might be an issue for some families" to pay, De La Hunt said.

She has already talked with the PTA about helping with the cost for those who need it. The school could look at providing assistance for those who are on the free and reduced lunch program, she said.

The school board unanimously supported the idea and asked De La Hunt to do some more research, talk with staff and bring a proposal to the next meeting in October. The board would like to implement the uniforms by January and want to make sure parents have time to be informed.

In other business, the board:

n Heard from High School Principal Jeff Johnson that an after school tutoring program is up and running, along with the H.E.L.P. alternative learning program. The hope is that these resources will help students before they get behind, he said.

n Heard from Century School Principal De La Hunt that kindergarten enrollment is slightly up and an additional class was added during the first week of school. There are now six kindergarten classes.

n Heard from both principals that they are going through the MCA II results and will be working with staff to determine the next steps.

n Heard from Assistant Principal/Activities Director John Schumacher that student and community involvement has been great this fall. Attendance has been excellent at school as well, he said.

n Business Manager Carol Hutchinson said the auditors were here and haven't found any surprises. A presentation likely will be made later at a November board meeting.

n Heard from Community Education Director Jill Dickinson that early childhood classes are up and running. Preschool is full with a waiting list, she said.

The after school program has 69 students and she is still looking for more volunteers from the high school.

n Heard that eight SMART Boards have been donated from the School Forest Committee, which is run by the Department of Natural Resources. Century is almost completely outfitted with SMART Boards, along with the entire science department at the high school.

n Was introduced to new teachers at Century and the high school. Zach Holsman is a K-4 physical education teacher, Jenny Corbin teaches first grade, Chelsey Pederson teaches third grade, Allison Spahn teaches first grade, Jeannie Mayer teaches second grade and Jamie Simon-Linkowitz is a half time English as a Second Language teacher.

n Approved a resignation from Matt Brandt as a paraprofessional and hiring him as a DCD instructor.

Approved the resignation of Beth Palm as the student success coordinator and hiring Kim Harmon for that position.

Authorized the superintendent to allow carryover of annual leave on contracts in excess of current contract language. Superintendent Glenn Chiodo explained that this was a formality that was required by the auditors.

n Approved a contract for vended meals with Kinderberry Kids.

n Approved setting the Truth in Taxation meeting for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19.

n Approved setting the certified proposed levy payable in 2012 at the maximum amount.

Business Manager Hutchinson said she doesn't have a set number yet because the state is running behind. She is just getting into the budget process and will bring more firm numbers to the board at a future meeting.

n Accepted a $50,000 donation from Theodore J. Haberer, Trust for scholarships; $1,228.69 to the high school from Target Take Charge of Education; $759.59 to the elementary from Target Take Charge of Education; $533.87 to the middle school from Target Take Charge of Education; a flag/flagpole worth $135 for fastpitch softball from the American Legion; and a countertop and cupboards valued at $500 for fastpitch softball from WSI Interiors.