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Wadena Deer Creek school board cuts six teachers to meet budget

The teaching contracts of six Wadena-Deer Creek instructors were terminated Monday night as the District 2155 School Board took a large and painful step toward meeting their upcoming budget.

The teaching contracts of six Wadena-Deer Creek instructors were terminated Monday night as the District 2155 School Board took a large and painful step toward meeting their upcoming budget.

The board cut Scott Endres (Secondary Social Studies), Sheila Winkels (Family and Consumer Science), Dustin Gramstad (Elementary Music), Kristina Witthuhn (language specialist), Lori Kopischke-Pulju (Secondary Art) and Lisa Winter (German and English).

Jim Formanek (Secondary Art), saw his contract changed from 50 percent to 33 percent.

The board resolved to eliminate a .5 custodial position, 3.88 FTE teaching positions, 2.0 FTE elementary teaching positions and the .5 FTE activities administration position.

The board also acted on the retirements of Sandy Bain, Sharon Brincefield, Rita Price, Bob Wierima and Jerry Fellman.

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The board voted to trim $428,080 from the 2010-11 budget at their March meeting. They also approved a capital improvements outlay of $195,000. More than $700,000 in capital improvement requests were submitted by the district staff to WDC superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom, who submitted $206,194 of capital improvements to the board in March.

The district is making cuts based on a projected drop in enrollment of approximately 30-40 students for the 2010-11 school year. The enrollment is then expected to stabilize.

Norm Gallant was named to succeed Brian Silbernick as activities director. Silbernick is leaving for Holdingford following the 2009-10 school year.

Gallant's teaching assignment was also changed from sixth grade elementary to junior high math. Gallant has been serving as head wrestling and assistant football coach in the district. He will continue as head wrestling coach but will be giving up the assistant football coaching job he has held for the past 11 years.

Gallant is a graduate of Staples-Motley where activities have been one of the district's strongest areas.

"I'm really excited about it," Gallant said. "Obviously I love activities and I want to see them all be the best they can be."

Gerard Lehmkuhl will be assuming the job of custodian at the Deer Creek facility.

New contracts were approved for Jerry Anderson (business manager), Luke Sturm (recreation coordinator), June Landgren (speech/language), Peter Tranvik (tennis coach), John Crandall (assistant track coach) and Keith Ferris (girls' basketball coach).

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Two new capital improvements projects at the high school were discussed. The main boiler at the high school will have to be repaired. The cost of the work is $28,800. The work is scheduled for middle to late June. The school's boilers are inspected in the summer and it is hoped that the boiler repairs can be completed by that time.

Flashing work must also be done on the east end of the high school building. The bid is $2,990.

Board member Steve Techam asked if there was any money remaining in the capital outlays fund but Dahlstrom said there was not. Anderson added that the money will have to be found.

"We really don't have a choice on either one," Dahlstrom said.

The board voted to approve both new projects.

Repairs on the high school tennis court will also be carried out. Expansion joints will be added. The cost of adding the joints will be $3,210. Funds are available for that work because the district held back payment of $25,000 and is working with the contractor to resolve issues with the job.

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