CROSBY -- The Crosby-Ironton School Board Monday authorized the recall of a few teaching positions previously cut in May, allowing for class size reductions in several classes and the reinstatement of courses that would have been discontinued in the fall.
Board members, who met for the first time in the district's new conference room, expressed optimism that the new high school building, which is expected to be ready for students this fall, will bring about a fresh start for the district plagued for years by financial shortfalls, declining student enrollment and a two-month-long teachers' strike last spring.
"I honestly believe great things are going to happen this year," said board member Mike Domin.
On April 4, the board placed 26 teachers on unrequested leave and the contracts of four non-tenured teachers
were not renewed. In May, the board amended that list and placed eight teachers, or 6.1 full-time-equivalent staff, on unrequested leave of absence based on declining enrollment to reflect a stronger financial outlook following the teachers' strike conclusion on April 6.
Business manager Bill Tollefson said the district is projected to have a $354,329 estimated fund balance as of June 30 and a fund balance of $253,546 as of June 30, 2006, or about 2-1/2 percent of the district's $10 million budget. Tollefson said the 2005-06 budget is based on student enrollment figures of 584 students in kindergarten through sixth-grade and 596 seventh- through 12th-graders, or 1,371 total pupil units.
On Monday the board authorized the recall of two full-time elementary teaching positions, a full-time high school English position and a .8 full-time-equivalent family and consumer science teaching position. The district will now offer those positions back to teachers placed on unrequested leave who have the greatest seniority.
In other board action, the board authorized the reinstatement of a .43 secondary math position, allowing for two additional math periods to create smaller class sizes. Otherwise, some high school math courses would have more than 37 students enrolled in a class, said high school principal Jim Christenson.
The board filled a full-time secondary science position. The department previously had five full-time science teachers and was down to three teachers this year. Now the high school science department will have four teachers.
The board authorized an additional .1 FTE position for a full-time instructor in the Range Area Alternative Program, rather than .9 FTE. The RAAP program also was authorized a $17,084 general fund subsidy.
A .4 activities/athletics director position was reinstated. A full-time English position, held by English teacher Brian Gaffney who in May had been taken off unrequested leave, was reinstated.
A full-time industrial technology position was reinstated. A .43 FTE industrial technology position had previously been budgeted and .57 FTE was added to create the full-time position.
A full-time elementary/secondary art position was reinstated which will allow junior high students to take an art class, previously not budgeted.
The board authorized a full-time elementary teaching position to reduce class sizes in the fifth- and sixth-grade classes. Melinda Jezierski, principal at Cuyuna Range Elementary School, said the teaching position may be a fifth/sixth-grade multiage position, the first multiage class offered in the school district. Jezierski said the class sizes are now at 27 to 33 students and it would be best if the class sizes were about 24-26 students based on the high percentage of special education students in both grades. She said 21 percent of sixth-graders and 11.63 percent of fifth-graders need special education services.
The board authorized a $9,000 general fund subsidy to C-I Community Education for the Ranger Care program, which will allow the district to continue offering day care to kindergartners on the days they don't have school. The program has 18 students enrolled and needs six more students to make the program self-sustainable. Jezierski said CRES is attempting to enroll more students in the program this fall so the subsidy won't be needed.
The board accepted the resignation of English teacher Dave Juracek with regret and authorized to fill the position.
The board hired Sam Roepke as a full-time high school science teacher and Rachel Helleloid as a full-time math teacher to replace two vacated positions.
The next school board meeting will be 7 p.m. June 27 in the district office conference room.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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