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Lanesboro School Board: Wellness Policy, a work in progress


Fri, Aug 18th, 2006
Posted in Education

Following state mandates, the Lanesboro School Board approved a basic Wellness Policy at their regular meeting August 17, but that will not be the end of the policy development. Sara Decker informed the board she is "so excited" about the wellness policy. While the basic policy could be "just shelved," Decker reported that was not her intent and she knew the board agreed with her. Decker intends to sift through the "ton of stuff out there that can be used" and plans that the committee will come up with specific goals as they develop a long-range plan. Decker listed some of the aspects of such a policy: fitness-both activity and education-and nutrition; she stressed the interconnectivity of the aspects and looked to encourage teachers to create lessons that relate to them. Supporter Eliza Mitchell said she especially was concerned about chemicals in and around the school. Board member Linda Sifford suggested getting the students involved in developing the policy as well, giving them ownership in it. The Wellness Policy committee will be divided into subcommittees according to specialty areas.

New elementary

science texts

Elementary principal James Semmen detailed the yearlong process used to choose new science texts for the elementary. Semmen first checked with area schools to see which texts they were using; he then involved the teachers as they perused and used sample copies. After presentations from two book companies, the staff chose the Scott Foresman. According to Semmen, that series meshed with the MCA2 standards better; students will be officially tested on science in the 2007-2008 MCAs. The Scott Foresman texts come with hands-on material kits that correlate with science projects as well as technology such as DVD supplemental materials and test and worksheet generating software. End of the year inventory sheets will facilitate restocking the kit supplies. Semmen was excited to get the new texts; the school had not gotten new books since Semmen started teaching in Lanesboro.

Health insurance

"Holey Moley!" board member Steve Snyder exclaimed as he heard the new health insurance rates for the teachers. With rates of $841 for a single and $2,209 for a family per month, it's not surprising only two or three teachers take the insurance. (The school contributes $265 a month.) Superintendent Jeff Boggs explained the rate increased 23 percent this year. This high rate is not new; the school has been "disadvantaged" according to Boggs for a long time because of some high insurance use history. The school offers staff an HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) of up to $1,200 a year to help with health care costs. Boggs told the board the insurance situation has not been a deterrent for new teachers coming in since the district tended to hire young teachers.

Other business

Other business of the meeting included:

• signing co-curricular, fall sports, title one, and non-certified contracts;

• accepting Rick Lamon's high bid of $1,259.76 for the 1991 bus that has been replaced;

• passing a resolution to allow Dennis Albright to teach half-time;

• accepting the resignation of Erik Hanson as high school band instructor. Hanson will be leaving to teach elementary band at Galesville-Ettrick-Trempealeau; interviews for a replacement will be conducted this week.

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