Herald and Journal, Oct. 22, 2001

Lester Prairie district looks over numbers

By Lynda Jensen

Gene Starke gave a positive report about a recent consolidation committee meeting with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted school district.

The board is working with three different committees, between HLWW, and Glencoe-Silver Lake about potential consolidation with either district, as well as a third committee with the city on cooperative/potential consolidation issues.

"It was a good, good meeting," Starke said.

Starke indicated he was impressed with how the curriculum from both schools appear to blend together, he said.

"It's amazing what extra classes there are," Starke said. There are many class offerings that are offered at the one school, and not the other, Starke said.

"I didn't know they didn't have FLA (Future Leaders of America)," Starke said. "They have FFA," he added. "That was unique."

Another example of this is world languages, in which HLWW offers German, and Lester Prairie offers advanced Spanish, Starke said.

"They did a super job of gathering information," Dean of Students Joe Miller said. HLWW curriculum coordinator Dean Wessman took information from nine other schools, Miller said.

The curriculum would look much like Delano's in relation to size, he said.

Other Lester Prairie school board members remained silent during Starke's report. Superintendent Dr. James Redfield indicated at the end that the board would also have to investigate offerings from GSL.

The next committee meeting with HLWW, which should focus on transportation, is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in Lester Prairie, Starke said.

The next meeting for the cooperative committee with the city will be Tuesday, Oct. 23.

It was decided that the board members did not know enough about where the direction of the district would be going with all three committees in order to discuss possible questions for the public, which was previously assigned as a homework assignment for the board members.

"We don't have enough information," Krull said.

An amended 2001-2002 budget was also adopted, with $15,000 in less expenses recorded in it, due to teachers retirement, FICA taxes, and other reasons, Redfield said.

The board also briefly discussed the referendum Nov. 6.

Redfield will be sending out information regarding the referendum.

New Elementary Principal Pam Lukens gave a report that included the following:

· Bus safety test have been passed for all elementary students.

· Firemen were in the elementary for Fire Prevention Classes for the fourth grade. All students at the elementary participated in the poster contest with four posters going on to the state competition.

· Student-to-teacher ratio is a real positive. This allows teacher more one-to-one time with students.

· lowa Test of Basic Skills - the main battery of test will be given to third thru sixth grades this week. We hope to identify students that might need extra support in specific areas.

· D.A.R.E. is underway for fifth grade. They will complete the program Monday, January 17 from 7 to 9:30.

· Student council has met and sent a memorial to the students at Hutchinson. They are now polling students and teachers to see where elementary donated funds and points can most effectively be used.

· The Book Fair has been set up and very successful in the Media Center.

The board also approved a curriculum report from Miller. He noted that criteria used to determine how well students were doing is relative, since Lester Prairie has a 92 percent graduation rate, which is much less in the metro area.

He also noted that a higher percentage of Lester Prairie students take the tests such as the SAT.

The annual curriculum report is required by the state, and was sent to district members.

Miller also reported that the new sound system was purchased for only $350, and seemed to work well, with a few glitches happening over its newness, he said. It would be working well by the next meeting, he said.

"It's a nice unit," Starke said. Starke commented that the system appeared to work really well and had five CD changers, as well as a fade in-fade out feature.

The next project would be new speakers, Miller said, although the existing ones were in OK shape.

Miller also reported the Lions contributed $850 toward the band room sound system. This amount was matched by the Aid Association for Lutherans, he said.

Miller commented that home-coming went well, with many seniors staying late for the activities.

Starke reported that the baseball coach plans to resign, as well as the junior high coach for softball.

He asked if the board should open the selection process up all over again.

It was decided to offer the positions to staff first, and then solicit others.

The board noted that teacher negotiations will take place Oct. 24 and 25.

In other matters, the board:

· heard from Miller about the school working with the American Legion to introduce flags into the classroom again. The old flags became worn and were not usable.

· Miller also reported that every elementary class recited the pledge of allegiance at one time, along with the rest of the nation, Oct. 12.

"I can't remember the last time our nation participated in a nationwide pledge," he commented.

· released a student to Minnetonka.

· approved $16 to pay parents per child per month for transportation to non-public schools, except where transportation was provided.

· approved $44,015.58 in prior bills since the last meeting, and $145,174.16 for current bills for Oct. 15.

· accepted a thank you card from Royalton Elementary School.

· approved action to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act.

· discussed snow removal agreement between the school and city.

· accepted a reading grant from the Southwest Area Technical College, to be used for software for those with reading difficulties.

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