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R-P reviews goals

Fri, Apr 22nd, 2011
Posted in Sports

The district's goals and objectives are receiving some fine tuning, thanks in part to a desire to focus on a strategic plan. Board member Beth Stanford suggests the formation of a work group or committee to formulate this plan. The time factor is the biggest obstacle, with administration already occupied with several tasks, including the obvious end of the current year piggybacking on planning for the next.

The current compilation of goals includes several ongoing processes, and in large part, the board feels these goals are on target. However, the current goals were documented more than five years ago. Stanford has said she believes it would be prudent to further define the goals and the methods it will take to accomplish them, including prioritization. It will be the board's responsibility to set these priorities and parameters.

"As a realist, don't give me more than five or six under each category," cautioned Superintendent Chuck Ehler.

In an effort to address the goals, the board will hold a working session in early October aimed at the next three to five years for the district. By that time, it is hoped the legislature will have some indication of state funding, also a critical piece in the district's future.

In other news, the district will move ahead with the exploration of a foundation for fundraising. Teacher Jenny Helgemoe, Community Education Director Beth Theede, and board members Roger Metz and Greg Smith met recently to review the potential benefits and drawbacks of forming a self-standing 501c3 organization. It may be more beneficial for the district to fall under the umbrella of the larger Rushford Community Foundation (RCF). Metz has spoken with local attorney Dale Evavold as to the ramifications of each and believes a cooperative effort between the two foundations would be most beneficial.

In addition, the new R-P Foundation will require a paid worker to handle the day-to-day aspects, coordination of fundraising, and the handling of donations. In the spirit of cooperation and cost-savings, Theede intends to approach the RCF about the possibility of a shared employee.

The foundation will be set up with various categories or designations for donations. They are currently exploring the option of donation levels, set at varying amounts, to encourage "seed money" for the foundation. It is expected that the board will be presented with more information at the May meeting.

With the Facililties Task Force recently concluding their intensive fact-gathering work sessions, the district has moved ahead with an application for a Cooperative Facilities Grant through USDA Rural Development. The Task Force considered a total of seven options for the district's facilities and, in the process, eliminated three, including deferred maintenance of the current facilities. The four remaining options include:

1) The building of a new early childhood through 12th grade facility at a site east of the athletic fields. The estimated cost is $29 million.

2) Phased construction with a new early childhood through 8th grade facility ($20 million).

3)Aa new early childhood through 5th grade facility, while the middle school and high school students remain at the current facility ($16 million).

4)Aa new middle and high school facility at the new site, while early childhood through 5th grade remain at the current elementary facility ($26 million).

Should the district be approved by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), it will be little more than a pat on the back, according to Ehler. The real catch will be having it approved by the legislature, a monumental task. "We're not in a position to wait," warned Ehler. "The MDE has 60 days to approve, prior to July 1st."

ICS Consulting will continue to assist the district with the documentation and figures needed. A joint work session of the school board and Facilities Task Force has been scheduled for the week of June 6th.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is Monday, May 16th, at 6:00 pm, in the high school biology room. The public is encouraged to attend.

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