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New calendar set as school counts down to summer

The countdown to summer vacation has started for Kenmare Public School students, but they must be ready to return to classes on August 18th, according to the calendar adopted by the Kenmare school board during a regular meeting held April 19th.

4/27/11 (Wed)


New school year will begin August 18th
By Caroline Downs
The countdown to summer vacation has started for Kenmare Public School students, but they must be ready to return to classes on August 18th, according to the calendar adopted by the Kenmare school board during a regular meeting held April 19th.
Superintendent Duane Mueller presented the 2011-2012 calendar, which includes 175 instructional days. Teachers will take part in a local in-service day on August 17th and attend an in-service presentation about bullies and bullying behavior on September 20th.
Students will have several holiday breaks, including days off for Veterans’ Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day and Presidents’ Day. Christmas break will run from December 23rd through January 2, 2012, and the Easter holiday will be April 6-9. Students will not have school on September 23rd or March 14th as compensation days for parent/teacher conferences, and spring break is scheduled for March 15 and 16.
The final day of classes will be May 18th, with graduation planned for May 20, 2012.
Mueller noted that ITV classes will begin broadcasting on August 22nd and finish on May 16th or 17th.
Board member Mike Zimmer expressed a concern about the early starting date, citing August 22nd as a date previously mentioned for the beginning of the school year.
However, the board approved the calendar on a 6-1 vote.
New bus to be purchased
The Kenmare school district is ready to purchase a new bus, if the district receives notification within the next week about a successful application for a federal transportation grant similar to a program offered last year. The grant will pay for half the cost of a new bus with specific fuel efficiency standards if the district agrees to take an old bus out of service.
Kenmare bought a new bus under the same grant last year. The money is awarded through the Minot Regional Education Association (REA) and member districts apply through the REA.
The district received two bids for 2012 buses, with Hartley’s School Buses of Rugby bidding $75,695 for a 48-passenger Bluebird model and Trucks of Bismarck, Inc. bidding $76,147 for a 47-54 passenger Thomas model.
Bus driver Larry Johnson suggested the board consider using the new bus as an activity bus because it would have enough power to pull the equipment trailer used by some sports teams and school organizations. “We’re sending kids now to Watford City, Beach, Hazen, etc., and sometimes the drivers say they’re short on power with the trailer, fighting the wind,” he said. “The new one should have enough power to pull the trailer.”
Board members approved a motion to authorize the Transportation Committee, with members Dave King, Lenny Rodin and Craig Ellsworth, to make the bus purchase if the district is named among the recipients of the federal bus grant.
Preliminary budget
Board members received a copy of the preliminary budget for the 2011-2012 school year, although business manager Renae Murphy cautioned some sources of revenue were only estimates at this time, including foundation aide and transportation funds from the state and Title funds from the federal government.
“This is based on the current information I have,” she said about the state funds. “We’re waiting to see the legislature’s decision.”
She noted she increased line item amounts for fuel and coal expenditures, based on increased spending for those items during the current school year, and listed the $46,000 that would be generated if voters approve the 5-mill technology levy in the June school district election.
She also reminded board members that negotiations with the Kenmare Education Association were still in process, which could change the budget.
The preliminary budget calls for $3,705,500 in revenue and $3,826,960 in expenses, with an estimated $121,460 in deficient spending at this time.
Board members have until July 1, 2011, to adopt the district’s budget.
Renovation concerns
Superintendent Mueller notified board members about the progress of several items related to the high school renovation and remodeling project. “Basically, we’re looking at plumbing and electrical concerns,” he said.
He noted the sewer smell present in some of the new rooms had improved but was still noticeable in certain areas. A heating unit in one of the new science rooms needs a cover, and the heating/cooling system still must be balanced, with some rooms warming to uncomfortably high temperatures while other rooms remain too cool.
Mueller said he had scheduled Mayer Electric to install additional USB ports needed for the teachers’ ActivBoards. He is working to contact the contractor responsible for the paint in the high school’s new corridor because those walls are showing marks that cannot be removed by standard cleaning methods.
Some board members expressed an interest in scheduling project architect James Devine of J&S Studio in Bismarck to review the remaining problems. Murphy said he had told her he wouldn’t bill the district for any more hours, but she did not know if he was planning another visit to Kenmare.
The district’s bill from American General Contractors has been paid in full. “American General did come up and get everything finished like they said they would,” reported Mueller.
In Other Business:
• Board members approved minutes of the March meeting and the district’s bills for payment, as presented.
• Murphy reported the district received $37,000 as payment from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant administered by the North Dakota Department of Commerce. The money will be applied toward costs associated with the upgrade to electric heat at the elementary school.
• Murphy advised board members the district would have to raise meal ticket prices by at least five cents per meal for the next school year, given changes expected in the federal hot lunch program. “There may be a lot of changes in the hot lunch program coming down,” she added, “especially in breakfast.”
• The board approved a revision to the extra-duty salary schedule policy, to add the softball coaching position, on second reading.
• The board received a summary report of the self-evaluation completed by members. The self-evaluation was based on six dimensions of board competency, including contextual, educational, interpersonal, analytical, political and strategic activities. Board members ranged widely in some responses about how they function as a board. Board president Rodin noted the summary report could be discussed among members during the state school board convention.
• Board members accepted the resignation of high school principal Scott Faul, with regret.
• The board approved a teaching contract issued to Kara Keysor for a position at the elementary school during the 2011-2012 school year.
• Board members accepted a tuition waiver agreement filed for a student from the Bowbells school district who will attend kindergarten in Kenmare during the 2011-2012 school year.
• The board approved, on first reading, a revision to the student handbook regarding missed detentions. Currently, students who are assigned Wednesday after-school detention periods are assigned a day of in-school suspension. The revision will require those students to instead serve two noon detentions on two consecutive days.
• Faul reported on progress made toward building the high school class schedule for next year. The ITV classroom will be occupied at least six periods of the day, with College English, Accounting and two sections apiece of Spanish I and Spanish II. A pre-calculus math class may be added to that schedule. Faul suggested the board consider adopting the ITV network class time schedule for the KHS school day, with classes beginning 10 minutes earlier at 8:30 am and ending five minutes later at 3:20 pm. “We have more kids signing up for the ITV classes,” Faul said. “Our percentages have gone up every year.”
• Superintendent Mueller announced a new first grader and third grader had been enrolled at Kenmare Elementary School that day. He also announced Teacher Appreciation Week for the first week of May.
• King and Rodin volunteered to join Mueller and high school secretary Kathy Mickelsen to interview applicants for the high school principal’s position during the first week of May. Rodin asked if any high school staff members would join the committee, but Mueller indicated that would not be the case. Three individuals had applied for the position as of the board meeting, with the district accepting applications through April 22nd.
• Board members discussed potential student numbers in the primary grades for the 2011-2012 school year, with expectations for split kindergarten and first grade classes again. Second grade numbers may also exceed 25 students in the class, but Superintendent Mueller said he was working on a solution with the teacher and emphasized his intention to keep grades kindergarten through three in the same building. “As of now, we haven’t added any staff,” he said.
• Board member Jan Kostad talked to the board about the annexation of property on the southeast side of Kenmare, which includes a site for the new Gooseneck Implement facility. Kostad advised the group that the Kenmare School Board could be asked to sign off on a tax incentive financing plan to pay for the installation of water and sewer lines at the site, estimated to cost $750,000, when the city finalizes its proposal. The school district would continue to receive the property taxes it has been collecting from that acreage, but new tax dollars resulting from the annexation improvement would not be collected by the district until the water and sewer improvement debt was paid.
• The Curriculum/Technology Committee, with members Ellsworth, King and Roger Johnson, will meet Thursday, April 28th, at 8:15 am.
• The Activities Committee, with members Lars Christensen, Zimmer and King, will meet Thursday, April 28th, at 9:30 am.
• The Negotiations Committee, with members Rodin, Zimmer and Kostad, will meet Thursday, May 5th, at 4 pm.
• Board members held an executive session to discuss negotiation strategies for the certified staff members’ salary and benefits package.
• The next regular meeting of the school board will be held Tuesday, May 10th, at 8 pm at Kenmare High School.