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R-P school board reading goals

Fri, Feb 26th, 2010
Posted in Education

74,000 minutes. That's a lot of reading in a short four days for the students of Rushford-Peterson Elementary School, but the potential reward for achieving their ultimate goal of 250,000 minutes in the month of February is even greater: the opportunity to see Superintendent Chuck Ehler and Principal Shane McBroom complete a polar plunge into Rush Creek on Friday, February 26. The tentative icy adventure was a topic of discussion and humor at the Rushford-Peterson School Board meeting on Monday, February 22, 2010.

Superintendent Ehler began his report at the beginning of the meeting by recognizing school board members for School Board Appreciation Week, which was February 21-27. In his written report, Ehler commented, "Your dedication and commitment is deeply appreciated!" Board members were also given certificates and thank-you notes from students.

Ehler also updated the board on delayed aid payments from the state. Though earlier estimates placed Rushford-Peterson's delayed payments at approximately $600,000, a more recent update by the state has lowered the amount to $183,092, a figure which Ehler called "good news." On another financial note, Ehler reviewed recent contract negotiations with district support staff, noting that an agreement has been established that raises staff wages by $0.10 per hour plus $0.05 longevity pay. A one-year settlement was set up by the district instead of a two-year agreement due to the current uncertainty surrounding finances.

The new school initiative was another topic facing the board on Monday night. A group of superintendents, which included Ehler, visited the capitol on February 16 to meet with legislators. Ehler noted in his written report that "it is very apparent that we will need a more comprehensive plan and approach to assist the Minnesota Department of Education in lobbying the governor and legislators to appropriate funds for a new school." Board member John Nitecki expressed his concern for how long the current buildings will be able to operate as functional schools and commented that the board should consider continuing to plan for a building project in the two years until another bonding bill could come before the state legislature. Ehler commented on what he called the "fear factor" complicating passage of a bill appropriating funds towards a new building, in which legislators have a lack of information about the project and refuse Rushford-Peterson funds on the grounds that others will line up for support if the state gives one district money. Ehler believes that personal letters to each legislator would remove much of this "fear factor" as everyone would have the same information. He also noted that the Minnesota Department of Education supports the project and has recognized the definite need for new facilities in the district. Board members Nitecki and Roger Metz brought up the necessity of rallying the community's support, and through discussion with fellow board members and with Ehler, developed the idea of issuing a community survey to get a better idea of what building options the community would support. Ehler encouraged board members to think of questions to ask community members and bring them to their board meeting next month.

While reviewing the teacher seniority list, board members also discussed the possibility of establishing a brief recognition ceremony for retiring teachers during annual graduation ceremonies. The board gave the idea their enthusiastic approval.

Superintendent Ehler also informed board members that some changes to kindergarten registration will be implemented this year, with the school requesting that parents register their children by March 19. Orientation will be held on April 16.

The next regular meeting of the Rushford-Peterson school board will be held on March 15, 2010, at 6:30 p.m. at the middle school building in Peterson.

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