Park Rapids school budget is approved

/ 4 April 2012 / jennifer

Jean Ruzicka, Park Rapids Enterprise, April 4, 2012 –

The Park Rapids School Board approved several “budget adjustments” Monday night in the form of non-renewals of contracts, reductions and an unrequested leave of absence.

The decisions, superintendent Glenn Chiodo explained, are based on budgets. No one in the district is retiring this year and stimulus dollars are no longer available.

“Retirements allow us to minimize reduction in staff,” Chiodo explained. “This year there were none.”

Enrollment in the high school is expected to decrease next year, but numbers in the elementary are expected to remain stable or increase, he said.

First and second grades are expected to have six classes, with this year’s second grade at five, and kindergarten is a “wait and see,” Chiodo said. “But we’ve never started with less than five (classes),” he said.

Third and fourth grades are projected to be smaller, with four sections each next year.

“If everything holds true, with five sections in kindergarten, only one regular teaching position will be lost,” he said of “shuffling.”

“Numbers fluctuate,” Chiodo told the board Monday. “We will add positions based on enrollment.”

Teachers approved for non-renewal of contracts include first grade teacher Jody Bettin, Title I instructor Alicia Hillesland and Joe Kuehn, a third grade teacher.

Scott Petrowski, a high school social studies teacher, was placed on an unrequested leave of absence.

High school media director Susan Cassidy and high school math teacher Stacy Klinkhammer face reductions. Cassidy will be offered a .5 full time equivalency, Stacy Klinkhammer a .6 position.

Shelli Walsh will move from Century Middle School Dean of Students to a high school social studies teacher and district-wide coordinator of assessment and curriculum.

The board also granted permission to advertise for a K-8 assistant principal.

Rose Williams, a Title I paraprofessional, will retire after 35 years with the district. Chiodo said the position will not be “automatically filled. We will wait to see how the federal funding flows.”

In other action, the board:

n Learned the district is moving toward an Alternative Learning Center and has received an unofficial nod from the state.

The district faces an April 30 deadline, however. “We have the pieces; we’ll try to pull it together.” If not, the program would likely be implemented the following year.

“It’s financially in our favor to pull this together,” Chiodo said. “We have a population this would be a perfect fit for.”

An ALC “would offer a broader scope of services than the existing Alternative Learning Program,” which offers credit recovery night classes, Chiodo said.

An ALC would assist sophomores, juniors and seniors, Chiodo explained. Classes could be offered days and evenings.

Targeted services via the Student Success Program have now been expanded from the initial fifth grade to fifth through seventh grades.

n Accepted the resignation of Nic Lembcke as girls basketball coach.

n Approved tenure for Stacy Klinkhammer, Eric Pilgrim, Eric Hillesland, Brianne Morris, Jennifer Corbin and Jeannie Mayer.

n Approved Robb Warne and junior high girls softball coach.