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Rushford-Peterson studies district goals

Fri, Oct 24th, 2008
Posted in Education

RUSHFORD - Darwin Viker of Larson Allen Weishair gave his annual auditor's report to the Rushford-Peterson school board prior to their monthly meeting last Monday.

Not surprisingly, Viker recommends caution in spending over the next several years.

Board chair John Nitecki responded to the report by admitting he's felt "nervous" over the school's budget the past several years, but that he wanted to say "hats off to the administration" for having "walked a fine line" between conservation and responsible spending in the district. The administration "made sure our district is stable," praised Nitecki.

Within minutes of the compliment, superintendent Chuck Ehler had to report an unexpected expenditure to the board. One of the district's water heaters suddenly failed, which will cost $10,000-$12,000 to replace, according to Ehler.

The high price is because the natural gas heater had previously been plumbed into the boiler system, which is no longer allowed, Ehler said.

High school principal Shane McBroom reported that he'd recently become certified to teach a college concurrent enrollment course at R-P in the area of business marketing. The course offers students college credit through Minnesota State College, Southeastern Technical school.

Ehler reported the hiring of Michelle Malone as food service and special education classroom paraprofessional. Malone replaces Lynn Hinz who resigned prior to the school year's start.

In an effort to revise and update district goals, administration recently conducted a staff survey to determine which goals were deemed most important. The goals came from a list created by the board and community members during the superintendent hiring process a year and a half ago.

Receiving the most support from staff was Goal 3: Enhancing curriculum to meet the educational needs of all Rushford-Peterson students. Specifically, staff members mentioned "improving technology opportunities for students, creating a comprehensive school, reviewing the schedules of all three levels, and enriching curriculum opportunities," according to a written report presented by McBroom.

Second most noted goal was Goal 1: Increasing and improving communication with all people residing in our district. Here, staff members mentioned "Online student information" (grades, lunch accounts, etc.) as well as "better communication between administration, staff, and the community."

The report said that Goal 5 also had a number of responses: "Provide functional, efficient, high quality facilities for our students, staff, and district residents."

Board members were asked to take a copy of the report of staff responses and "study it" before the next board meeting.

A special meeting was approved for Thursday, November 6 at 5:30 p.m., to canvass school board elections results.

The next regular school board meeting will be November 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school biology room.

After adjournment, the board and press members were invited to the fifth grade classroom of Jake Dahl for a demonstration of a "smart board"-a white board that functions as a huge "touch screen" computer with educational software. Dahl was enthusiastic about the results of smart board use in the district so far. All present were impressed.

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