Based on direction from the Redwood Area Board of Education provided in Dec-ember, the Redwood Area School District’s (RASD) administration compiled a list of proposed reductions in programming and positions for the 2013-14 school year and beyond. The programs considered for reduction were presented based on reasons ranging from a potential lack of state revenue to drops in enrollment.
Among the proposals was discontinuing the high school French program.
According to Rick Ellingworth, RASD superintendent, enrollment in the French program has been low for several years, with a total of 40 students who had registered in French 1-4 for the 2013-14 school year.
“The numbers for the French program as just not very good,” said Ellingworth.
The plan, which was approved by the school board at its meeting Monday night, is to terminate the French program over a one-year period. For the coming school year French 1 is not going to be offered, with those who are currently in the program and want to continue allowed to take French 2-4 for 2013-14.
Ellingworth said the savings from the discontinuance of the French program, which would be a .17 teaching position for the coming school year, would be used to hire a math teacher to increase the course offerings in that core subject.
Wayne Junker, school board member, expressed dismay about ending French, but recognized the low en-rollment as a legitimate reason to discontinue it.
In addition to discontinuing the French program the school board approved the reduction of the integration and multi-cultural program.
According to Ellingworth, this program is based on revenue from the state added to levy dollars collected locally.
Reductions in that state aid as well as potential changes in the program handed down by the state led to the decision to cut the program and to cut the staff tied to that revenue. However, if the legislature does decided to find the program as it is or opts to create something different the administration could come back to the school board with a recommendation to move ahead with the program again. The local levy dollars have been approved.
Ellingworth called the program a political issue, and said if what is approved at the state level fits it would move ahead and hire staff based on the state approved program.
The school board also approved termination of a first grade reading program established solely for the 2012-13 school year.
Changes in the core subjects at the high school level were also approved, to include going from 2.83 to 3.0 FTEs in science, from 3.0 to 2.83 FTEs in social studies, from 3.17 to 3.0 FTEs in language arts and from 2.17 to 2.67 FTEs in math. The board also approved reassignment of special education staff for the 2013-14 school year based on projected case load.
Page 2 of 2 - To create a consistent program at the Kindergarten level, the board approved moving back to having one full-time paraprofessional in each of the classrooms, which would increase staffing from two to four full time paras.
In other action during its meeting, the school board:
• Heard unofficially that the department of education has approved the next three-year flexible learning year proposal.
• Entered into a memorandum of understanding with Education Minnesota - Red-wood Falls that offers a retirement incentive by extending the separation compensation plan to those educators who have at least 13 years of teaching service in the school district (the previous contract required 15 years).
• Approved participation in Ag In Motion, which is a summer curriculum that involves a field trip for participating students. While the program does not provide educational credits for students it would allow them to be part of the FFA program should they take part.
• Directed Rick Jorgenson, RVHS principal, to move forward with a new attendance policy that moves away from grade-related consequences for tardies and unexcused ab-sences to more immediate consequences.
• Approved a one-year HVAC maintenance services contract with NAC Mechanical and Electrical Services effective April 1 in the amount of $23,300.
• Accepted, with regrets, the retirements of Nancy Partch and Cindy Hillger.
• Accepted the resignations of Nancy Grejtak and Amy Schmidt.
• Approved the employment of Robin Beske as the Red-wood Valley Alternative Learn-ing Program lead teacher at a salary of $52,681 with an additional 40 hours of summer work for program administration.
• Approved the employment of Samantha Tighe as junior high track coach at a stipend of $1,616.
• Approved the employment of Katie O’Connor as an elementary school paraprofessional for 45 days at 6.75 hours per day at $9.25 per hour and Gwenn Harrington as an elementary education special education paraprofessional for 43 days at 1.25 hours per day (being added to her already existing contract), at $9.25 per hour.
• Approved the employment of Britany Nelson and Barb Stough as assistants in the Cardinal Kids Club program at $9.25 per hour with the number of hours to be determined by the program coordinator.
• Approved tenure for Laura Buckley, Julie Rohling, Maggy Blue, Michael Meeker, Joanna Richards, Ryan Hiltner and Lisa Sackreiter.
• Approved continuation of contract with probationary teachers Darren Tighe, Amanda VanLeeuwe, Mark Buyck, Lyndsay Serbus, Holly Johnson, Benton Kodet, Alanna Lienig, Lindsey Meyer, Laura Miller, Laura Odland, Samantha Tighe, Emilie Veith, Justin Timm and Brian Wille.
• Approved non-renewal of contracts with Jessica Meeker, Will Sordahl, Collin Steph-enson and Brittany Sears.
• Approved participation in a digital social studies course development program at a cost of $2,000 based on Andy Regnier’s acceptance into the program.