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Enrollment dips slightly, remains ahead of 2014

By KEVIN CEDERSTROM

The latest April 6 enrollment figures for Park Rapids Area Schools show a drop in 15 students from March but overall holding steady for the district. The monthly report was presented to the school board Monday.

Total school enrollment for grades K-12 is 1,465 which is down from 1,480 reported last month. This is also down 19 students in K-12 from the first report on Sept. 22. Looking back to this time last year, school enrollment overall is up a total of 37 students in grades K-12.

This April’s report shows 658 students in grades K-4 at Century Elementary, down 10 from last month. There are 414 Century Middle School students in grades 5-8, up two students than in March. High school enrollment is down seven students at 393 from an even 400 in March, according to the report presented to the school board.

Comparing enrollment numbers in April to the start of the school year in September, shows grades K-4 are down a total of 11 students, middle school enrollment is up eight students and high school is down a total of 16.

“I’m pleased our enrollment has held as strong as it has this year,” district superintendent Lance Bagstad said. “Historically, we see a lot of mobility in the spring. I’m pleased with the way we’re holding our own with enrollment.”

Contract non-renewals

The board on Monday voted to not renew four probationary teaching contracts for Meggie Rentz, Beth Baker-Knuttila, Gena Dempsey and Sharon Emerson. The board also voted to not renew the part-time paraprofessional contract for Cassie Smith (.37 FTE) and approved the unrequested leave of absence for Emily Schueller (.7 FTE Special Ed.).

There was no discussion prior to each roll call vote and board president Sherry Safratowich commented, “These are tough decisions for this district to do.”

Superintendent Lance Bagstad explained the staffing changes are necessary as the district looks at programming and plans for next year. As the district prepares for next year some staff may be brought back through the hiring process, depending on district needs.

New hires

The board approved hiring Kevin Tupy, custodian; Barb Wilson, bus driver; and Jennifer Jackson, district nurse.

Art students recognized

The board recognized two Park Rapids students who earned Best of Show honors at the regional art show and will represent the school at the state art competition May 9-16 in Minneapolis. The students, Isabella Simonson and Kyle Williams, showed their winning pieces Monday and were congratulated by the board members. At the regional show, Park Rapids had 17 art students enter work with eight receiving Superior and six Excellent ratings.

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