By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie School Board, during last Monday’s meeting, discussed the possibility of closing open enrollment for grades eight through 12.
Superintendent Mike McNulty said last year, the district received a large influx of students mid-year.
He noted the board has expressed interest in keeping class sizes small, and it is difficult for a small school to make changes in the middle of the term.
McNulty said if students move into the district, the district is required to accept them.
It was noted last year, due to the large number of students transferring mid-term, two classes had about 40 students.
McNulty said it creates stress on one teacher working with 40 students.
Board Chair Bob Carlson said if students want to enroll at Lester Prairie for next year, it gives the district time to prepare and budget for the additional students.
Board Member Rollie Radtke said if the district has not yet reached the maximum number of students, the board could set a number, and then close enrollment if the number of students reaches that point.
“I’m of the opinion we do nothing,” Board Member Matt Klitzke said. He noted the board has been trying to market the school and increase enrollment.
“At one time, we had 600 students in this school,” Klitzke said.
The district student count as of Nov. 13 was 421, compared to 416 last November (and last year’s total included seven foreign exchange students, of which there are none this year).
Carlson said last year, one student took up a lot of Principal Jeremy Schmidt’s time, and he doesn’t want that to happen again.
“That’s a discipline issue,” Board Member Karla Heigl said, adding if it happens again, the district needs to deal with it right away.
“Since I’ve been on the board, we’ve been dealing with falling enrollment. I think this (closing open enrollment) is the wrong thing for us to do,” Heigl said.
After additional discussion, the board, by consensus, decided not to close open enrollment.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved a contract with Jeannie Bodine as cook’s helper III.
• approved the resignation of Tasha Schiedl as para professional.