The Brainerd School Board agreed Monday to lobby the Legislature in its next session on issues that include vocational funding and all-day, every-day kindergarten.
The board wants the state to help restore funding for its vocational education program.
"Vocational education is a higher cost program and is more susceptible to review for possible reductions during difficult times and many districts in the state are faced with reductions," said Lew Hudson, school board member.
Hudson said 70 percent of all high school students do not graduate from college. In Brainerd, 23 percent of students enter the job force upon graduation. The board said it supports learning opportunities for those going directly to the work force and those pursuing additional technical training with a combination of school and community based learning in partnership with area businesses.
The board also plans to ask the Legislature to increase funding for voluntary districts to implement all-day, every-day kindergarten. The board supports the program and studies show parents favor the program. Research has found many children benefit academically and socially during the primary years from participation in all-day compared with half-day kindergarten programs.
Board members also would like the Legislature to set aside sufficient money from the current surpluses to reimburse school districts in the event allegations by the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are upheld. Many school districts are facing allegations of age discrimination based on early retirement language in the teachers' contracts. The Brainerd district could face paying more than $300,000.
Hudson also said the federal government promised to pay 40 percent of the total expenditures for special education students, but to date payment has not exceeded 13 percent.
"It is time in this era of budget surplus to live up to the promise made in 1974," said Hudson. "Meeting the needs of all students is the right thing to do, by providing school districts the level of funding promised to help meet that goal."
Fran Holden, a longtime resident of the Nisswa area, donated $10,000 to the Nisswa Community Library project.
The board approved bids from Tretter Trucking to conduct snow removal for the Brainerd sites for a one-year contract and Carl Boeder to conduct snow removal for the Nisswa site for three years.
The board approved a health and safety plan for the district. The Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning is requiring school boards to formally approve plans for each of the health and safety areas.
The 1999-2000 audit was approved. Thomas Koop of Larson Allen Weishair & Co. found the district's financial status to be clean and stable.
The school board accepted a resignation letter from Janice Benson, Lowell Elementary School teacher, to be effective Jan. 15, 2001.
Five people were chosen to serve on the board's community education advisory council: Jill Carlson, a two-year term, representing businesses; Tammy Dewey, four-year term, teacher; Todd Froemming, four-year term, business; Kathy Stevens, four-year term, youth focused; and Jeana Wetzel, four-year term, disabilities.
This committee will focus on youth organizations, help guide the overall program and make a recommendation to the school board.
No one was nominated to serve on the North Central Service Cooperative for a four-year term. Bill Holmgren and Orville Meyer, who are currently in office, have terms that expire at the end of this year.
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