The Brainerd School District took a “test run” with a new agreement last year with Central Lakes College (CLC) regarding the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. On Monday, the district renewed the contract with information that money had been saved with the agreement.
The Brainerd School Board approved the PSEO program contract for the 2012-13 school year.
Under the contract, Steve Lund, director of business services, said the school district will be able to manage the finances of the PSEO students in two different ways, which will result in the district saving $8,000. Lund said PSEO students will be able to have a separate agreement with the college or the district can report the student’s PSEO participation to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), where the state department will pay the college directly at a rate that is governed by the state, which was $181.47 per credit in 2011-12.
Lund said the agreement requires more tracking and administrative work, but the school will receive more revenue than it did in previous years. Previously, Lund said the district reported its PSEO students to the state as enrolled in the program 100 percent, no matter how many credits the students took. The district then would negotiate with CLC for the cost.
In the renewed agreement, Lund said the school will code the students by how many credits they take and will pay the same rate to CLC as the state direct bill rate. Lund said the savings is based on the students who don’t take a full load of PSEO courses and spend more time at BHS. Lund said these students pay the lower credit amount for the courses and the cost sharing of the program for the district is smaller. Lund said the district would pay 20 percent of the excess amount to CLC.
Lund said for the students taking a full load of PSEO courses, MDE would pay CLC directly for the credits and the district would receive 12 percent of the state aid, or $450 per student.
“This is a win-win,” said Lund. “The state allocates so much per student and we can obtain more funding with this financial structure. CLC gets paid and we save a little bit ... And at the end of the day the college also is saving $8,000 which keeps $16,000 in our community.”
In the 2011-12 school year, there were 99 students who took 1,275 credits in the fall semester at CLC and 104 students taking 1,360 credits in the spring semester. Last school year, the district spent about $494,600 in the PSEO program and received about $632,800 in revenue. Lund said the difference in the expenditures and revenue — which equaled to $1,200 per student — covered district expenses with providing PSEO students with education while at BHS. Lund said the average PSEO student takes 12 credits per semester, with a full load of 18 credits. The district provides students the remaining coursework for graduation and the cost of other related educational expenses, such as technology, textbooks, materials, transportation, extra-curricular activities and maintaining the building.
In other business, the board:
• Dissolved cooperative sponsorship agreements for the following sports: Alpine and Nordic ski with Pequot Lakes and Pillager schools and gymnastics with Pillager and Walker Academy schools for the 2012-13 school year; and girls’ swimming and diving agreement to end in the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.
Charlie Campbell, Brainerd activities director, said new cooperative sponsorship agreements for the three sports and other sports are in the works. Campbell said that the district is working on updating its agreements and wanting to add more schools to the agreement.
• Approved the athletic training/sports medicine services with Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
• Agreed to purchase OdysseyWare, a customized web-based curriculum that utilizes multimedia to give students more ways to learn and is accessible at any time from anywhere. The district plans to purchase the software to use for several small pilots to personalize learning for students, while teachers evaluate the product for blended and flipped classroom instruction. The software would replace the district’s existing software, such as Plato and FastMath. The cost is anticipated to be a wash as the district will not spend money on its existing software and will spend it on OdysseyWare.
• Heard that the district added an extra second grade classroom at Riverside Elementary School and a third grade classroom at Lowell Elementary School. Willy Severson, director of schools, said if the classes were not added, the Riverside class would have been had students in the “high 30s” and the Lowell classroom would have had 41 students.
• Received a $10,000 grant from Bremer Bank for the FRED program; a $1,200 donation from RedCat System of a hearing assist unit for the new second grade classroom at Riverside Elementary School; a donation $1,127 from Harrison Family Teacher Association for the purchase of a new touchboard at Harrison; a $670 donation from Iven’s on the Bay and Ladies Night participants for the food service to help feed a child.
• Accepted Kristine Sorenson’s resignation as the Brainerd High School (BHS) science teacher.
• Hired the following teachers: Melissa Bowden, Early Childhood Special Education teacher for ages 3-5 at Washington Educational Services Building (WESB); Karla Johnson, English teacher at BHS; Suzanne McKibbon, special education teacher at BHS; and Jessica Turner, emotional behavior/learning disorder teacher at the Alternative Education Center.
• Entered into two agreements with Tri-County Community (TCC) Action’s Head Start program to operate the early childhood program at WESB and at TCC’s location in Brainerd.
• Renewed the sublease agreement with The Journey North Church of the Franklin Arts Center and the lease agreement with Artspace Brainerd Limited Partnership.
• Agreed to continue its partnership with the Otto Bremer Foundation for last year’s pilot program that funded testing and career counseling expenses for the ACT Work Keys assessment. The grant this year will continue the program and add one full-time equivalent career counseling from Rural Minnesota Concentrated Employee Program for the 2012-12 and 2012-14 school years.
• Were told of the upcoming events: the Brainerd School Board’s Long Range Planning work session will be held Tuesday; new teacher breakfast will be at 8 a.m. Friday; first day of school is Sept. 4; Legislative Committee meeting with Brad Lundell, president of Schools of Equity in Education President, at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25; and Hall of Fame dinner at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 5.
• Moved into a closed session for the purpose of contract negotiations strategy discussions and grievance update.