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LP Superintendent Joe Miller is ready to retire

February 18, 2008

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

With reluctance, the Lester Prairie School Board accepted the resignation of Joe Miller effective Aug. 30. That is the date when Miller becomes eligible for full retirement.

In his resignation letter to the school board, Miller wrote,

“I am submitting this letter at this time to allow the school board ample time to do a comprehensive search for a new superintendent. I want to assure the school board that I am more than willing to be of any assistance in this process, at whatever level they deem necessary. In the event that the board needs more time to complete their search, I will remain available to them.”

Miller began working at Lester Prairie in 1974, as a social studies teacher. The formula for Miller’s retirement is years of service at Lester Prairie, plus age, must equal 90. The rule of 90 applies to all certified staff in education, employed prior to July 1, 1989.

Miller said, “I have enjoyed working in this district over these years. In fact, moving from the classroom into the principal’s position, and now as superintendent, I can’t think of any other jobs I would have rather done.”

Miller reminded the board that his retirement does not go into effect until Aug. 30, and a new superintendent would begin July 1 of the 2008-09 school year. Having Miller available during the month of August will make an easier transition for the school, he said.

School Board Chairman Fred Blaser thanked Miller for his years of service and told him it was a pleasure to have worked with him. All the board members agreed with Blaser’s comment.

Kindergarten or kindergarten-plus offered

All kindergarten students will be offered a half-day of core classes that meet Minnesota standards taught by Jan Smith. There will be a morning class from 8:15 to 11 a.m., or an afternoon class from 12:15 to 2:55 p.m.

To meet the demands of the community, Lester Prairie will also offer kindergarten-plus, a full-day kindergarten program, as an option if eight to 12 students sign up.

Applications will be sent out to parents with kindergarten-age children by March 1 and need to be returned before or at the kindergarten roundup March 18 with a $100 deposit.

The kindergarten-plus program will run from 8:15 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. each scheduled school day.

Kindergarten-plus students will be with kindergarten teacher, Jan Smith, from 8:15 to 10:55 a.m. each day.

After the morning classes, the students will go to lunch and recess, a total of about 55 minutes.

Following recess, the afternoon program will have a different teacher working through Community Education.

The afternoon kindergarten-plus teacher and Smith will develop the programs together so that there will be a smooth transition each day for the children.

Afternoon programs offered may include library time, music, physical education, expanded curriculum that will include enrichment, support help in skills learned during the morning, and socialization skills, as well as first grade readiness skills.

A $150 monthly tuition will be charged for each student attending the all-day kindergarten-plus program.

More kindergarten-plus information

• With the $150 tuition per student in the kindergarten-plus program and the per child kindergarten state aid increasing in 2008, there should be enough income to cover the cost of the afternoon kindergarten-plus teacher.

• Students in kindergarten-plus will move in to the preschool room after lunch and recess.

• There will be a reduced and free option for parents to apply for through the free and reduced program.

• Lunch will be on a student account just like first graders, or parents can send a sack lunch.

• Kids Depot will be available for parents needing after school care.

Odds and ends

In other business,

• school board members Bob Carlson, Jeff Hecksel, and Jim Jorgenson will meet with Miller in his office Tuesday, March 4 at 4 p.m. to discuss non-certified staff negotiations.

• Athletic Director Scott Fitzsimonds reported there are only three students at Lester Prairie and Holy Trinity interested in taking golf, so it will not be offered as a spring sport.

Fitzsimonds told the board, golf might possibly be offered through the Community Education program.

• the board heard a report from Secondary Principal Scott Fitzsimonds that students are now working on completing registration sheets for classes for next year.

Lester Prairie will offer 22 courses online for juniors and seniors, available through the Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative.

• the board heard a report from Fitzsimonds that a number of teachers attended Moodle Training Jan. 30 and 31. The teachers are working on designing hybrid content for a class this spring and will work toward expanding for the next year.

• the board approved a resolution directing the administration to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions for the 2008-09 school year because of a decline in student enrollment.

• the board dropped the Carver-Scott Cooperative and will join the West Metro Cooperative for adult education.

• the board approved a full page ad in the Lester Prairie guidebook at $495 plus additional copies of the guidebook for distribution, and a quarter page ad in the New Germany guidebook at $245.

• the board approved all of the spring coaching positions (except the JV baseball coach position, which is still open).

• the board accepted the resignation of health and physical education teacher, Gail Henning, after 34 years of teaching at Lester Prairie.

• the board approved a contract for Betsy Horon, chemical dependency counselor, for six hours a week until the end of the year (mileage included).

• the board approved a contract for Brielle Kasanezky, a special education para, to work with a disabled student full time.

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