LITTLE FALLS -- The Little Falls School District has identified six goals for the 2002-2003 school year.
Wednesday, the district sponsored the last of three community forums designed to gather feedback from the public on its strategic direction. A total of about 12 people attended the forums.
Board Chair Susy Prosapio said a committee of community members, parents, administrative staff and the board came up with six goals that focus on three main areas -- higher student achievement, maintaining a safe and welcoming learning environment and balancing the operating budget.
"We needed to develop a focus to decide what is important," Prosapio said at the Wednesday forum at Lincoln Elementary School. "That's why we're jump-starting. It is not perfect, but it is a process."
One goal is for students to read at or above their grade level starting in first grade. Prosapio said the district will look at how students are performing at each grade level.
Another goal is for all members of the school community to expect and support a safe, orderly, caring and learning environment. To accomplish this goal, the district suggests offering satisfaction surveys, conducting employee evaluations, using more volunteers, completing discipline reports and keeping clean and maintained facilities.
"This is already in progress," said Pam Allord of Little Falls. "Why look at something you have?"
Allord said more needs to be done in regard to balancing the operating budget.
The district would like 2 percent of the operating expenses in the unreserved fund balance by June 30, 2003, and 5 percent by 2005.
"We are negative right now and it is important to be financially healthy," said Prosapio.
Ron Cekalla of Little Falls said balancing the budget is a good goal.
"We need to know what will happen," said Cekalla on how the budget affects programs. "We don't need any surprises. We need to plan ahead for the young kids."
Allord said the community needs to get involved in resolving the budget issues.
"We need to get to the people with no kids," she said. "That's why the referendum didn't pass, because they make up a majority of the district."
Allord said she believes the district does not need all of the administrative staff, such as the assistant principals, whom she said have large salaries.
Resident Cathy Borders said when the district makes its budget cuts it should try to make it in areas that don't affect the quality of education and classroom size, such as transportation.
Prosapio said the committee will review feedback received from the forums and then the school board will consider the plan sometime later this month or early in February.
Prosapio said many of the attendees agreed with many of the goals and were glad to see that the district has a focus.
"It's a good start," Greg Borders, Little Falls, said about the process the district is taking. "You have to start someplace."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.