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School board approves 2-principal model

The Park Rapids Area School Board on Monday approved a new two-principal administration plan for Century School.  The board discussed the idea the last two meetings and asked Lance Bagstad, Superintendent of Schools, to present options at this week’s meeting.  Vice-chair Gary Gauldin made a two-part motion, seconded by Steph Carlson, to approve a Feb. 16 start date and move assistant principal Shawn Andress to full-time middle school principal. JoLeen DeLaHunt, who currently is Century School principal, will be elementary school principal.  The board voted unanimously to approve the plan, which does not add another position to the administrative team.  

“I am very grateful for the school board’s decision to support the two principal model at Century,” DeLaHunt said.  “This will allow each principal the opportunity to dig deeper into each end of the building to provide leadership for 21st Century learning for our students.”   DeLaHunt continued, “We have an outstanding team of teachers and staff who are deeply committed to our students. It is truly humbling and rewarding to work with such a solid district.”    

The salary structure in the approved plan will pay Andress for 116 contract days based on the assistant principal salary through Feb. 15 and 94 contract days as middle school principal for a total salary of $78,845.  Impact of the new plan on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget is an increase of $2,429. Impact on the Fiscal year 2017 budget is an increase of $9,634.  The board came to a consensus at its last meeting to go with a two-principal plan with the idea more should be added in the future to take pressure off the administration at Century, which currently has enrollment of about 1,100 students.  

“I’m okay with this but I still don’t think this is enough people and I stand by that position,” board chair Sherry Safratowich said Monday. “I don’t want to do this and see it fail. I think this will be part of this change in our organizational structure, but I don’t want us to forget that we need to do something else later on down the line.”  

Superintendent Bagstad recommended the two-principal model starting Feb. 16 and continue it to the next year. Bagstad also recommended assigning Andress to the position.  Bagstad said this is a good step in restructuring administration to address student and staff needs moving forward in the district. He also said they will consider adding another administrative position to the model in the future, possibly a Dean of Students or something equivalent.  

The board also on Monday approved job descriptions and salary schedule for an assistant mechanic/transportation assistant and a lead mechanic.  The lead mechanic position advertised starts at $23.05/hour with step increases. The assistant mechanic position starts at $17.25/hour with step increases.