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Lars Christensen is named school board president

Lars Christensen was seated as president and David King said farewell after 15 years of service when the Kenmare School Board met July 12th.

7/20/11 (Wed)

 

Lars Christensen was seated as president and David King said farewell after 15 years of service when the Kenmare School Board met July 12th.

 

Christensen follows Lenny Rodin as the board president, with both men nominated for the position for the 2011-2012 school year. Craig Ellsworth was elected vice-president on a unanimous ballot.

 

Michele Nelson joined the board for her first meeting following the June 14th school board election.

 

Board members and visitors at the meeting were treated to cake in honor of King’s departure. “It’s been a great learning experience,” King said as he shook hands with the administrators and other board members around the table. He noted he was also ending his service on the board of the North Dakota School Boards Association.

 

Laptop computers were distributed to each board member. The computers, which will be replaced by netbooks in the classrooms for all students in grades 7-12 this year, were stripped of their old software and re-loaded with programs for the board’s use, including copies of district policies. Board members will also send and receive email related to board and district activities on the laptops. Rodin noted such communication would be done for informational purposes only, with all formal actions continuing to take place during board meetings.

 

Board approves contracts,

still needs math teacher

Board members approved contracts returned by 29 certified staff members for the district. Superintendent Mueller reported the high school math position formerly held by Anthony Keaveny had not been filled yet.

 

“There are still 10 to 12 math positions open around the state,” he said. “Plan B, if we can’t find anybody by August 15th, is to look at a long-term sub.”

 

He explained one or more substitute teachers would be hired to teach those classes at least until the first semester ended, with the possibility of hiring a full-time teacher at that time. That position’s schedule includes math classes for students in grades seven, eight and nine, which are not offered over the ITV network.

 

Mueller said interest in the listing had come from outside North Dakota. “There have been people from Texas and New York,” he said. “We’re getting hits, but we’re not getting any applicants.”

 

Board members took no action on a verbal request from science teacher Thurstan Johnson to be released from his contract. Mueller noted that 18 secondary science positions were currently open across the state.

 

“We want to provide the best possible education for our kids,” said Rodin. “With 18 openings, it’s pretty important we have a teacher.”

 

In a separate action, board members approved contracts signed by Superintendent Mueller and new high school principal Robert “Dobie” Thom.

 

The board also approved 10 coaching/activities contracts, including Tarra Froseth for student council, DeVonne Hanson for drama, Wendy Larsen for yearbook, Thom as activities director and event supervisor, Tim Wallstrum for head volleyball, Courtney Seime for head football and assistant girls basketball, Johnson for head boys basketball, Jason Schwarz for head girls basketball, Lenny Rodin for 8th and 8th grade boys basketball, and Merry Feldman for 5th and 6th girls basketball and 7th and 8th volleyball. Rodin abstained from the vote.

 

New playground equipment at the high school

Students in grades 4, 5 and 6 at Kenmare High School may look forward to recess even more than usual this year. Board members unanimously approved a bid of $45,500 from Dakota Fence to purchase new playground equipment to be installed at the high school.

 

Two other bids were received, including one for $39,157.57 from Gametime and one for $52,385.00 from MyTurn Playsystems. Building committee chairman Jan Kostad noted the Gametime bid appeared incomplete, with only a list of the parts for purchase and no drawings or sketches of the full equipment.

 

He reminded the board that Kenmare Veteran’s Club Inc. had donated $10,000 to the project.

 

Dakota Fence will provide personnel for supervision purposes, while the equipment is installed by parents and other volunteers. Board members were told the equipment would arrive within three to four weeks of the order date.

 

In other business:

• Board members approved the minutes of the June meeting and the district’s bills for payment, as presented.

 

• Business manager Renae Murphy announced the district ended the fiscal year with a better-than-expected carryover of $600,000. “At one point, we thought we might be as low as $300,000,” she said. “Even the hot lunch fund ended up with a carryover.”

 

• First District Health Unit public nurse Melissa Burud presented information to the board regarding efforts by the Kenmare Tobacco-Free Coalition to encourage the Kenmare City Council to implement a smoke-free ordinance for all public places in the community. Burud explained that several groups and organizations around Kenmare had signed resolutions of support for the City Council to take that action. However, school board members expressed their reluctance to direct the City Council’s actions, and no action was taken on a resolution of support for the Coalition.

 

• The board took no action on a tuition waiver request from a family with a child attending eighth grade at Burke Central High School.

 

• Board members approved the sex offender policy and a revised extra duty salary schedule on second reading.

 

• The board approved a revised teacher handbook on first reading, with changes related to meal prices and a new starting time for the school day to match the ITV class schedule.

 

• Superintendent Mueller introduced new high school principal Dobie Thom, who was scheduled to begin work July 20th.

 

• The board met in executive session to discuss a letter of complaint received by the district.

 

• Board members approved the consolidated grant application for federal title funds. The district will receive $91,656 for Title I, most of which is mandated for salaries and benefits of those instructors, and $36,303 for Title II, mandated for professional development and classroom reduction, if needed. Changes in the federal budget were noted as Murphy explained, “We have to spend this to get it, and there are no other Title programs available this year.”

 

• The board appointed Superintendent Mueller as the Federal Programs/Title Coordinator for the district as he administers federal funds received.

 

• Board members reviewed a list of uncollected taxes. Murphy noted the total dollar amount in uncollected taxes showed a decrease from last year.

 

• Mueller asked board members to consider representing the Kenmare district on the Minot Regional Education Association. King had served in that capacity since Kenmare joined the Minot REA. The next meeting of the REA will be in October.

 

• Superintendent Mueller noted that J2 Studio architect James Devine would be in Kenmare during the end of July for a final walk-through of the Phase I classrooms completed in the high school renovation project one year ago. “We need to get contractors back to finish the projects that still need to be addressed,” Mueller said. He added that the air exchange system still needs balancing throughout the classrooms.

 

• The Transportation Committee will meet Wednesday, July 20th, at 9 am at Kenmare High School.

 

• The Hot Lunch Committee will meet Wednesday, August 3rd, at 9 am at KHS. Christensen and Mueller scheduled their own meeting for July 14th to make committee assignments for the new year.

 

• The next regular meeting of the Kenmare School Board will be held Tuesday, August 16th, at 7:30 pm in the KHS board meeting room. Board members are invited to join the Kenmare teachers for breakfast the next morning before the teachers participate in an inservice day to prepare for the new school year.