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School board removes mandatory band for 5th and 6th graders

In an unusual move, the Kenmare school board reversed itself March 15th when board members revisited the topic of mandatory band for fifth and sixth grade students.

3/23/11 (Wed)


By Caroline Downs
In an unusual move, the Kenmare school board reversed itself March 15th when board members revisited the topic of mandatory band for fifth and sixth grade students.
The motion to remove mandatory fifth and sixth grade band from the core curriculum came after the board discussed the topic during their retreat on March 9th. At that meeting, the board reviewed the original issue of increasing numbers of high school band students, the anticipated $20,000 to provide instruments for mandatory band, and the fact that fifth and sixth graders already have a mandatory music class.
Board member David King remained firm in his support of the program. “The research shows that kids involved in music do better in other subjects,” he said, “and the earlier they start, the better.”
Board president Lenny Rodin expressed his concern about requiring all fifth and sixth grade students to take the class. “What if we have parents who don’t want or cannot work with their child on this?” he said.
At the regular March school board meeting, Rodin mentioned his concern about the cost of the program. “It might be better to save that $20,000 [needed to purchase instruments] for other resources we may need elsewhere,” he said.
He made the motion to remove the program from the core curriculum, with a second from Mike Zimmer.
Discussion about the issue was limited at the board meeting, with King reminding board members that Kenmare Veteran’s Club, Inc., had promised to make a $10,000 donation toward the purchase of instruments. However, the vote came in at 4-3 to support the motion. Kenmare fifth and sixth grade students will continue to have the choice in joining band.
In Other Business:
• Board members approved minutes of the February meeting and the special meeting held in March for the superintendent’s evaluation, as well as the district’s bills for payment as presented.
• Business manager Renae Murphy reported that coal and transportation fuel expenses had been higher than estimated for the 2010-2011 budget. While $20,000 was budgeted for coal, the actual cost was going to be closer to $25,000. The district had budgeted $55,000 for gasoline and diesel fuel expenses, but Murphy expected to spend more than that because of rising fuel costs.
• Board members approved a motion to add a technology mill levy of five percent to the school district election ballot, with the election scheduled on June 14, 2011.
• The board approved an updated extra-duty salary schedule, on first reading, that now includes girls softball. The position will be paid the same as the baseball coach.
• Board members approved spring season coaching contracts for Arnold Jordan in golf, Dennis Kaatz in baseball, Scott Faul in track and Molly Terveen in girls softball.
• The board accepted a tuition free agreement for a sophomore student whose parents live in the Minot school district and an open enrollment for a 2011-2012 kindergarten student whose parents live in Tolley, part of the Mohall Lansford Sherwood school district.
• Board members accepted a letter from the Kenmare Education Association, stating that organization’s position as the representative bargaining unit for certified staff members in the upcoming salary and benefits negotiations with the school board.
• The board accepted a letter of resignation from kindergarten instructor Claudia Jones, effective the end of the current school year.
• Superintendent Mueller announced that Kenmare school made history that day as Governor Jack Dalrymple signed into law a bill designating the ladybug as the state insect. The bill was researched and proposed by four Kenmare second grade students and introduced by Representative Glen Froseth of Kenmare.
• Mueller informed the board that the administration was working to offer a self-defense program for the senior girls, taught by a U.S. Customs officer stationed in Sherwood who was interested in also making the program available to other persons in the community.
• Mueller reported on the status of the remodeling project at Kenmare High School. The tile work in the new corridor has been cleaned, and the source of the sewer gas smell was located and corrected. A few tasks still need to be completed, including balancing the heat and air flow in the new classrooms and providing water to the sinks in the library. Mueller has been in contact with the project’s architect regarding the work to be finished.
• High school principal Scott Faul announced the 2011 prom had been opened up to sophomore students as well as juniors and seniors in an effort to increase the number of couples attending the event. Prom was scheduled for April 2nd.
• Faul discussed the 5th and 6th grade basketball schedule, with games being played in a round robin format on Saturdays for the past two years. “It’s not quite the variety of game we were hoping for,” he said, “and we’re probably going to a home and away game schedule again next year.” He said the Saturday games resulted in more practices and less driving time, but only a handful of teams played each other repeatedly.
• Faul also announced that the Tioga and Ray wrestling programs decided to form a co-op with Stanley, leaving Kenmare as an independent team at this time. The Kenmare Invitational wrestling tournament will be modified next season with a Friday night schedule and a limit of eight teams participating.
• The next regular meeting of the Kenmare school board will be Tuesday, April 19th, at 7 pm at Kenmare High School.