The Redwood Area Board of Education officially moved ahead with its involvement in the flexible learning year (FLY) initiative Monday night when it voted to apply for a three-year extension of the current proposal.
The application, which is a compilation of the multi-school consortium includes information from the three public hearings held in advance of the final decision by the school board, includeing public comments.
“We are going to submit one application on behalf of the whole consortium,” said Rick Ellingworth Redwood Area School District superintendent.
All 25 school districts who have been part of FLY for the past three years had to make a decision whether or not they would be moving ahead this month, and when all of the districts have officially opted to continue or to step away from FLY the application would then be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education.
Two school districts, Canby and Milroy, opted not to continue with FLY recently, and information regarding the other districts was not available at the time this edition went to print.
While the school board unanimously approved involvement, it also discussed the concerns raised during the public hearings, especially as they related to those families who are involved with the state fair and would miss days of school because of that participation.
“There must be something we can do to help those kids,” said Wayne Junker, school board member.
While Ellingworth said many efforts were made to help those in that situation, there are still perceptions that have led the district to believe it could do a better job in helping them.
That, said Ellingworth, is what the school district would intend to do if the application is approved.
“The concern is the schedule is putting stress on those kids who are not in school,” Ellingworth said, adding the district wants to make sure their concerns are met. “We want to reach out to those impacted by this to see what we can do.”
While the school board has voted to take part in FLY again, that does not mean the initiative is going to automatically proceed. The department of education must still approve the application.
In the event the proposal is approved, the district also approved a calendar for the 2013-14 school year that includes an Aug. 19 start date. However, said Elling-worth, if the application is denied the school board would have to approve a new calendar with a post-Labor Day start date.
In other action during its meeting the school board:
• Elected Jim Buckley as board chair, Kevin Passe as clerk and Rick Petersen as treasurer for 2013.
• Approved the sale of a four-acre tract of land owned by the district across Cook Street from the RVMS/HS campus to Trident Develop-ment, LLC at a cost of $140,000. The plan is to erect a multi-unit apartment complex at that site.
Page 2 of 2 - • Approved a request to move forward with proposed attendance changes and changes in the health curriculum at the high school level. More research is going to be done before a final decision would need to be made.
• Approved the addition of an ag chemistry science elective for the 2013-14 school year. The plan was initially to offer the class to fulfill the chemistry standards requirement, but the current plan is not going to do that for the upcoming school year.
• Accepted the resignation with regrets of RVMS art teacher Amanda Mathiowetz effective at the end of the current school year.
• Approved the employment of Lori O’Leary as a short-term RVHS FACS teacher at a rate of $105 per day for the first 10 days and $184.78 per day for the rest of the contract.
• Approved the employment of Brian Wille as varsity assistant baseball coach at a stipend of $2,619 and Amanda VanLeeuwe as junior high softball coach at a stipend of $1,616.