ST. PAUL - State Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, joined his fellow members of the House K-12 Education Finance Committee in announcing a 1 percent funding increase for 2009 in the House education budget.
"Our schools are drowning," said Ward. "This one-time funding throws them a lifeline."
According to Ward, the budget makes use of one-time money to create short-term relief for Minnesota's schools. The proposal will send money directly to the classroom by making use of unused Q-Comp funds, state budget reserve funds and by agreeing with the governor's recommendation for a 4 percent agency cut at the Minnesota Department of Education.
The funding package will provide a $51 per pupil increase, to be distributed equally to every district in the state. Schools in dire need are offered additional short-term flexibility to use $51 per pupil from operating capital reserve for general fund balance purposes.
The bill would provide an extra $432,978 for the Brainerd School District and $71,561 for the Crosby-Ironton School District in 2009, according to a House DFL media source.
"We are all too aware of the tough decisions our schools have been forced to make in the recent months," said Ward. "Between the two districts (Brainerd and Crosby-Ironton), over 100 teachers and staff have lost their jobs, and classes and extracurricular activities are facing cuts."
Brainerd Wise Guyz and CWC Operation ARMMS Coalition host community briefing
Operation ARMMS (Addressing, Responding, Managing Meth and other Substances) of Crow Wing County and Brainerd Wise Guyz recently participated along with 350 other youth networks nationwide to host a Take It Back Community Briefing.
About 30 people attended the Brainerd community briefing. Representing the general public were community officials and parents. The briefing featured a panel that included Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted; Crow Wing County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Debi Backdahl; Brainerd Police Department Crime Prevention Specialist Elizabeth Harris; Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson; and the owner of Max's Downtown Liquor, Julie Sullivan.
Dance team earns awards
The Brainerd Warrior dance team recently was named the Class 3A Sportsmanship winner for the 2007-08 season at the annual Minnesota Association of Dance Teams meeting.
The award is voted on by the coaches in the state.
Head Coach Cindy Clough said, "We were very excited to be honored with this award. We strive so hard to be great sports on and off the floor so it is rewarding to have it acknowledged."
The dance team also won the Academic Excellence Award, which is given to a varsity team with an average grade-point average of 3.25.
The following Brainerd dancers were named Academic All-State: Chelsea Doysher, Sarah Stricker, Melissa Holland and Amber Erickson. To earn this award dancers needed to be seniors and have a GPA of 3.8 or higher and their team had to qualify for the state tournament.
Inaugural Easter Bunny Bash planned Saturday in Brainerd
Bounce into historic downtown Brainerd for the first Easter Bunny Bash from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Bring the family and have your picture taken with the Easter Bunny at Woody's Photography in downtown Brainerd. Live bunnies also will be displayed by area 4-H members and will be available for purchase. This inaugural event is sponsored by J & M Printing Inc.
An Easter Egg Hunt will be 10 a.m. at Lum Park. Children may also attend their very own Easter party from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the Brainerd Moose Lodge.
Online survey available in Brainerd superintendent search
The Brainerd School Board is conducting an online survey to gather public input regarding expectations, characteristics and skills desired in a new superintendent. People may access the survey at www.isd181.org.
School board members also will conduct a listening session from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday at Riverside Elementary School, where the same information will be gathered. At the listening sessions, residents will be asked to complete a questionnaire and will have an opportunity to visit individually with a school board member.
Intermittent closures planned for U.S. 169 in Onamia
ONAMIA - U.S. 169 in Onamia will have intermittent closures.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported the road work schedule, depending on good weather, is planned from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Thursday and between March 25 and March 27.
Traffic will be shut down during the placement of bridge sections over U.S. 169. Motorists should plan for intermittent traffic stoppages up to 15 minutes. Flaggers will control traffic.
Crews will be placing bridge sections for the future Soo Line pedestrian/bike trail overpass.
Utilities commission to meet Tuesday
The Brainerd Public Utilities Commission will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the BPU Service Center, 8027 Highland Scenic Road.
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