The Park Rapids School Board on Monday heard staff reports about the last week of school for the 2019-20 academic year and the outlook for 2020-21.

Instruction for the spring term ended Friday, May 22.

District office reports

Superintendent Lance Bagstad reported that the schools’ new staff workshop is scheduled for Aug. 24, and a “state of the district” video was being prepared for release this week. Progress continues on Project309 videos, regarding the school’s facility needs, with a sixth video coming soon, he said.

Business Manager Kent Fritze said milk, pizza and bread bids for next year will be opened May 26. Also, an automatic active assailant benefit has been added to employees’ long-term disability policies, in case of a physical attack during the school day.

Regarding budgeting, Fritze noted the Legislature’s projected budget surplus has turned into a deficit. “K-12 funding is a major concern for the next five years,” he said. “We’re fine right now. We’ve been very prudent, and we have reserves. … But, looking ahead, it’s going to get a little meaner out there.”

The state is still promising a 2 percent increase for next year, he added, “but after that, all bets are off.”

Principals’ reports

Elementary Principal Joleen De La Hunt said the physical education department held a “virtual field day” on May 15. Approximately 200 students and adults participated via Zoom on more than 180 devices.

Students will be introduced to their teacher for next year via videos, she said. “Usually, we have a time period where kids get to meet their teacher, and now we’re doing it all online.”

High School Principal Jeff Johnson said he was expecting information this week from the Minnesota Department of Education about how the district’s Alternative Learning Center and Targeted Services can resume serving small groups of students on school premises.

This “is just a win-win because those kids cannot do this distance-learning piece. They struggle with that,” he said.

Johnson also discussed plans to collect school equipment checked out for distance learning and disinfect them, in hopes that the campus will be open for instruction in the fall.

Community Education Director Jill Dickinson said registration is underway for next year’s preschool. As of Monday, 78 of 80 slots for 4-year-olds were filled, and 19 of 30 slots for 3-year-olds. Century Adventures had 78 students registered for its summer program, she said. As her staff is preparing online classes for youth and adults, Dickinson said, “We’re learning a lot about technology and different platforms.” Possible options include a basket weaving class and a yoga class, both held via Zoom. “It’s a different way of thinking, but kind of fun.”

Activities Director Jeremy Nordick said the school’s 43rd annual athletic banquet was “a little bit awkward, but we had a lot of fun.” He anticipates a busy athletic year in 2020-21.

PAWN Special Education Director Eva Pohl reported that plans to continue distance learning through June and July for Extended School Year (a skill maintenance program helping students with disabilities maintain the progress they made during the regular school year) are being reconsidered in light of recent guidance from the state.

“We’ll take it one step at a time and rework some of our plans there, to meet student needs,” said Pohl.

In consent items and general business, the school board:

  • Hired Noah Bone and Jamie Nordick as assistant football coaches; Josh Meader as head boys basketball coach; and Shaun Johnson as licensed school social worker.

  • Approved volunteer Brian Johnson as football coach.

  • Accepted the resignations of Meader as junior varsity boys basketball coach, Johnson as social emotional learning behavior coordinator and Jennifer Moir as bus driver and recess monitor.

  • Renewed the school district’s membership in the Minnesota State High School League for 2020-21.

  • Approved the fall 2020 coach list, including football head coach Jeremy Nordick and assistants Randy Thompson, Noah Bone, Charles Hrdlicka, Jamie Nordick and Jesse Bucholz; middle school football coaches Kevin Murphy, Gabe Turtz, Garrett Kovach and Josh Cook; volleyball head coach Christine Sauer, assistant Ellie Riihiluoma and C team coach Katelyn Seehafer; clay target league head coach Steve Girtz and assistants Janelle Girtz, Jodi Walsh, Charley Walsh, Robin Walsh, Bert Fosse, Dan Strickler, Matt Leek, Allen Kriz and Jared Hoefs; cross country head coach Pat Richard; girls tennis head coach Brianne Morris, assistant Chelsie Weeding, junior high coach Sarah bowman and volunteers Melissa Koppelman and Leah Hilmanowski; and girls swimming head coach Todd Fritze and assistants Megan Helms and Sarah Heise.

  • Approved the monthly enrollment report, showing that as of May 14, the district’s K-12 enrollment stood at 1,566 – down two since last month. Total enrollment, including early childhood programs and the high school Alternative Learning Center, was 1,703 – an eight-student decrease on the month.

  • Approved payments presented for May, totaling $1,048,926.

The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, June 1.