Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 26, 2001

LP board looks at improving technology

By Dale Kovar

With a positive fund balance in hand from its recent audit, the Lester Prairie School Board turned its attention last Monday to making use of it.

"We're always talking about trying to add more opportunities at Lester Prairie School," board member Fred Blaser said, pointing out this could be a time to do so.

Blaser emphasized having the district work on improving technology, both in terms of computers and additional staff.

Better quality computers, particularly at the lower elementary grades, were mentioned.

As for staff, a technology person could be involved in teaching both students and staff about using technology, board members said. The position could even include maintenance of the hardware.

The issue will be discussed with staff and the technology committee, with more information and some cost estimates coming back to the board at its December meeting.

On other financial matters, the board reviewed a report of income and expenses three months into the fiscal year, with no unexpected surprises.

The board approving transferring money from general fund to cover deficit balances in food service and the yearbook from last year. Both of those items were about $11,000 in the red.

As for other additions, the board agreed to add more coaches and fine arts supervisors in areas where participation warrants. The exact positions to be approved are to be determined by the athletic director and dean of students.

Consolidation

The board noted that consolidation talks with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted have been put on hold until about February to let newly elected board members take office in both districts.

Blaser wondered aloud about the dynamics of the new HLWW board as he observed some disagreement there.

"Even if we are jumping up and down wanting to be part of it, they may not want us anymore," he said.

As for Glencoe-Silver Lake, consolidation isn't really in the picture but GSL and Lester Prairie are looking for ways to share certain programs that could help both districts, board member Nancy Krull reported.

Most of the focus has been on advance placement courses, either through telemedia or actually transporting students. It was noted that students going between the districts would need to spend at least half a day in other location to be worth the trip.

"We're testing the waters, looking for opportunities to cooperate," Krull said.

Some athletic cooperation may also be possible, especially in sports that GSL has but Lester Prairie doesn't, such as tennis.

Supt. James Redfield commented that with GSL's two referendums failing, that district is facing some severe cuts, however, that situationmay accelerate sharing of staff to keep some programs going.

The committee discussing a joint use facility with the City of Lester Prairie is still looking at options, the board was told. The city council plans to discuss what amenities it would like in such a facility.


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