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School Resource Officer gets PR School Board nod

The Park Rapids Area School Board on Monday approved a joint powers agreement with the City of Park Rapids to create and fund a School Resource Officer position.

The agreement requires the school district to reimburse the city for half of the costs of the SRO's employment including wages and benefits — specifically, $48,840 for school year 2019-20, $50,305 for 2020-21 and $51,814 for 2021-22.

The SRO will be assigned to the public schools during school days while students are present.

The agreement goes into effect Aug. 15 and automatically renews annually for three years unless altered by mutual consent or terminated on three months' notice.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad said, "It's going to be a huge step forward in helping us with building a positive culture."

Board member Gary Gauldin cautioned against using the SRO "as an assistant principal," for day-to-day discipline, which he has observed to be unsuccessful.

Police Chief Jeff Appel told the board that the position will be posted internally, "and we'll work together with all the schools to select the right person for the job."

"We're going to set up clear expectations ... as we develop this position," Bagstad added.

Day-shift officers will continue to patrol the school, Appel added, while the school will be consulted about where they are most needed.

Board member Stephanie Carlson made a motion to approve the joint powers agreement, and it passed without dissent.

Football pairing off

A decision about the proposed football pairing with Menahga was pulled from the agenda. Bagstad said this was because the Menahga School Board decided to stay in the United North Central co-op with Sebeka.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

• Hired Michael Heise, junior high boys basketball coach; Shalom Grandy, 0.5-time physical/health disabilities teacher; and Lydia Hildebrandt, elementary teacher.

• Approved an update of the inter-agency collaborative agreement and the coordinated service agreement for the Hubbard County Family Services Collaborative, first established in 2002. The agreements identify responsibilities assigned to the school district, including representation on the collaborative's governing board, contributing staff and funding, identifying and serving special education needs for children up to age 21, and more.

• Reviewed and approved the district's 2019-20 volunteer insurance with Berkley Accident and Health, property liability insurance with Minnesota Insurance Scholastic Trust, and life and long-term disability insurance with National School Insurance. Premiums stayed the same for volunteer insurance at $476.47, life at 12.8 cents per $1,000 and long-term disability at 0.375 percent, while the property/liability premium increased from $68,999 to $81,130.

• Approved keeping school breakfast and lunch prices the same for the 2019-20 school year. Breakfast prices are $1.55 for grades K-4, $1.80 for 5-12 and $2.35 for adults. Lunch prices are $2.40 for K-4, $2.5 for 5-8, $2.70 for 9-12, $3.75 for adults and 35 cents for milk.

• Acknowledged various donations and grants, including $1,000 from the Park Rapids Rotary Club, $750 from Itasca-Mantrap and $500 from Pine Manor, all to the Business Professionals of America chapter.

The board had a closed session to discuss negotiation strategies.

The school board's next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 17 at the Frank White Education Center.

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