Park Rapids School Board adjusts adult lunch price

Other staff reports included word of an antifreeze leak in the high school commons.

New staff in the Park Rapids Area Schools for school year 2022-23 include, front from left, Olivia Leslie, Ashley Anderson, Carmen Arellano, Lindy Dalberg, Annie Minske, Erin Romanski, Anne Mizelle, Mikayla Magnuson, Nichole Weston, Beth Winkler, Abby Golish; back row, Jana Oatis, Peter Franz, Aryanna Wetteland, Morgan Miller, Brian Johnson, Gunnar Aas, Stephanie Leslie and Jeb Sanford.
Robin Fish / Park Rapids Enterprise
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The Park Rapids School Board on Aug. 22 increased adult lunch prices to $4.95 for the 2022-23 school year, on advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Business Manager Kent Fritze explained that the late change, coming only weeks after the school board decided to keep meal prices the same, was due to the USDA being behind schedule in sending out information.

Fritze also reported that the district’s financial audit is underway.

Other staff reports

Principal Jeff Johnson reported all high school staff positions have been filled except one paraprofessional.

Johnson said 16 new students had enrolled in the high school, and high school staff are developing their own staff evaluation tool, as an alternative to purchasing a program.


Century School Principal Mike LeMier reported 113 students were enrolled in kindergarten, averaging 16 children per classroom.

Elementary Assistant Principal Steph Mercil discussed a series of videos she has been putting out to prepare students for school.

Facilities Supervisor Alan Vanderstad said his staff is working to repair a glycol leak from the boiler main piping system in the high school commons, resulting in 1,600 gallons of antifreeze being collected in buckets in drums.

“I’m waiting on parts, and hopefully we’ll put that together next monday,” he said.

Vanderstad also reported that Century School is disposing of a lot of surplus furniture.

Activities Director Jeremy Nordick reported participation numbers in fall sports are up compared to the last two years, with 86 students (grades 7-12) going out for football, 29 for cross country, 79 for volleyball, 30 for swimming and 46 for girls tennis (grades 5-12).

He said they hope to get up to 100 students going out for football within a few years. Nordick also noted that there will be four volleyball squads.

PAWN Director Eva Pohl reported about a variety of trainings special education staff have been undergoing, as well as a meeting in Bemidji about the schools’ deaf-blind project.


Transportation Director David Synstegaard shared progress in entering bus routes in the Routefinder software that he anticipates will help manage the program, eventually allowing for online registration for transportation “rather than the hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper that we get.”

Synstegaard also voiced concern about driver recruitment. “We’re gonna start the year OK,” he said, “but if the bubble bursts … we’re gonna be in trouble.”

Jill Stevenson, director of curriculum and instruction, reported that staff review of math resources is underway.

School board briefs

In consent items and general business, the school board:

The school board learned Jan. 23 that the district is part of a group of districts partnering in a $3.8 million DHS grant to increase mental health services in the schools.
An investment advisor's pre-sale report suggests favorable bond rates, if interest rates continue trending downward through Feb. 6.
Costing a little over $1 million, the new parking and parent pick-up/drop-off area should be completed by back-to-school time in August, with new playgrounds ready for use even sooner.
If accepted, the school would join Barnesville, Breckenridge, Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, Hawley, Frazee, Pelican Rapids and Perham in 2024-25.

  • Accepted the resignations of Mya Claussen as a health professional, Amanda Novak as a paraprofessional and Krystal Murphy as a C-squad girls basketball coach.
  • Hired Amber Schroeder as a middle school Achievement & Integration paraprofessional, Angie Schilling as a middle school special education paraprofessional, Sheila Koch as a 20 hour per week special education secretary and a 5 hour per week virtual academy secretary, Brandi McMahon as a health professional, Grace Harne as an early childhood special ed paraprofessional four days per week, Melissa Kramer as a high school paraprofessional and Grace Balfanz as an elementary playground monitor three days per week.
  • Approved Nicole Brandt and Kayla Ehler as volunteer girls tennis coaches.
  • Posted positions for a middle school special education paraprofessional and an assistant mechanic/apprentice. 
  • Approved selling hot dogs and pop at Coborn’s as a cross country fundraiser.
  • Approved first readings of policies about drug and alcohol testing, drug-free workplace and drug-free school, and acceptable use of electronic technologies.
  • Received an enrollment report as of Aug. 18, showing 603 students in grades K-4, 496 students in 5-8, 508 students in 9-12 for a K-12 total of 1,607, plus pre-K, early childhood and Alternative Learning Center students for a districtwide total of 1,728. For comparison, the district’s K-12 enrollment total one year ago was 1,590. 
  • Approved payments presented for July, totaling $2,176,360.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 at the Frank White Education Center.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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