Jan. 22, 2007

Delano School Board limits open enrollment for next year

By Cullen Schultz
Staff Writer

Delano School Board voted Tuesday to end open enrollment for grades one through 10, for the 2007-08 school year.

The ruling effectively ends non- resident enrollment, and limits open enrollment to 1 percent of the total enrollment at each grade.

Superintendent Dr. John Sweet gave the example after the meeting that this year, there are 149 first graders at Delano Elementary.

“One percent is 1.49, so we’d be able to admit one if we have applications for that,” Sweet said.

What the board did was limit open enrollment; state statute says a board may limit enrollment of non-resident pupils in its programs or school to a number not less than the lesser of 1 percent of total enrollment at total grade level of district, or the number of district residents enrolled in other districts at each grade level.

“In our case, the lesser of that is the 1 percent of the enrollment in each grade – it ranges from one to two in each grade,” Sweet said.

The decision will not affect students who have open enrolled in the past. A “grandfather” policy is in place, guaranteeing them a spot at the school.

“Students who have already opened enrolled are considered part of the student body,” Sweet said.

The decision to leave open enrollment for kindergarten, and grades 11 and 12, to ensure keeping enrollment numbers up was made.

Sweet said, traditionally, Delano had large open enrollment at kindergarten, and he added that for grades 11 and 12, the students are only there for a short time.

The resolution was approved pending confirmation from legal counsel that the resolution is correct per statute.

Board sets activity fee for girls’ high school hockey

The board recognized the growing interest in girls’ hockey, by setting a $100 activity fee, making it the same as the boys’ team.

The decision will cut costs players and parents will pay to Buffalo for equipment and ice time.

High School Principal Bruce Locklear said the girls’ team has doubled in the previous years, making up one-third of Buffalo’s team. The players from Delano are now paying from $350 to $800 to play hockey in Buffalo.

Full-time curriculum/staff development director position approved

Having a curriculum/staff development director has been a goal for the school board for years, but it could not afford the position until now.

“The position was in the staffing plans for years, when budget cuts killed it off,” Sweet said.

Locklear noted there is no shortage of things to do in the high school, and the position will allow the school to dedicate time to find and research new curriculum and teacher development.

He added that in order to continue to grow and be successful as a school, the district will need this position.

“As we continue to grow, we just see necessity in having someone in charge of curriculum,” Locklear said.

The position will be reinstated for the 2007-08 school year, with a budgeted salary/benefit cost of $75,000 per year.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• granted kindergarten teacher Meredith Huikko a family leave of absence effective March 22 through May 9.

• accepted the resignation of elementary paraprofessional Denise Fahy, effective Jan 19.

• noted a training day for all teachers, paraprofessionals, and nurses for Monday, Jan 22.

Sweet also noted a facility advisory committee meeting scheduled for Jan. 18, consisting of a state of the school address, city growth projections presented by Delano City Administrator Phil Kern, enrollment projections, facility options, as well as other topics of discussion.

• heard from Community Education Director Diane Johnson that the winter-spring brochure has been printed and distributed, and that the community education staff is working with the General Federated Woman’s Club in Delano to write a grant to the Central Minnesota Arts Board for funding to bring back Music in the Parks.

• noted the search for a new middle school principal is now underway. Current principal Dick Rominski announced he would be at the end of June.

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