June 26, 2006
LP school board adds teaching position
By Linda Scherer
After a lengthy debate on the importance of small class sizes versus balanced budgets, the Lester Prairie School Board approved the dollars needed to hire an additional full-time elementary teacher at last Monday’s meeting.
Although the vote was not unanimous (4-2), those who voiced their opinions agreed that small class sizes are better for both students and teachers.
Chairman Fred Blaser and board member Jeff Hecksel voted against adding another teacher for budgetary reasons. Those in favor were Robert Carlson, Chester Hoernemann, Jim Jorgenson, and Melissa Williams.
Principal Pam Lukens’ recommendation was for a full-time teacher who would teach a combination class of fifth and sixth graders. By dividing the students into three classes, there would be 22 students in each class.
Lukens felt the decision should be made as soon as possible because of the two teachers on unrequested leave. She was afraid they might not be available later on.
Another concern was providing an adequate amount of time for the teacher to put a curriculum together before school begins in the fall.
The kindergarten-plus program has been put on hold because there were not enough parents interested in signing contracts committing to the entire school year.
The program will be considered in the future when the numbers are there to support a half-time teacher.
Superintendent Joe Miller presented a budget with a surplus of $22,329 for the 2006-07 school year and it was approved by the board.
Miller reminded the board that any money it spends now will be money they are taking away from the 2007-08 budget. The referendum dollars will not be coming in until at least May 2007.
The salary of a full-time teacher was estimated at approximately $45,000. That would not only take away the surplus dollars from the 2006-07 budget, but start the school year with a deficit of approximately $23,000.
Spanish teacher needed
Assistant Principal Ron Erpenbach has been advertising for a Spanish teacher needed for the coming school year. The position has been posted for one month without anyone applying who is qualified.
Erpenbach got a little nervous when he checked 14 schools, the farthest away in Burnsville, and found that there are 14 Spanish teaching positions open.