By Gabe Licht
DELANO, MN David Haider’s son, a Delano student, has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Haider is not happy with how the district has handled creating an Individualized Education Program. He expressed his concerns to the Delano School Board Monday, and agreed to meet with Superintendent Matt Schoen to discuss the matter further.
“I’m here today because I want to present an opportunity for the Delano School District to make a difference in the lives of kids in Delano, possibly the state of Minnesota, and possibly the United States of America,” Haider said.
He alleged the IEP process delayed an effective plan for his son, and “this IEP team is trying to blame the parents for the delay.”
He called the IEP process rigid, inflexible, and ineffective, and suggested requiring more data collection, feedback, and revisions to improve the process.
“The IEP process did not provide a clear and accurate assessment of my son,” Haider said.
He does not believe there are any Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy experts relative to the IEP process in the district, state, or country. Valuable time and resources have been wasted throughout the process, he believes.
“The IEP process, because of all the flaws, forces parents to dedicate valuable resource time to the IEP, not toward potential treatments that may also make a difference in the quality of life,” Haider said. “I’m here with you today instead of trying to get my son set up for treatment, possibly out East and out West. I’m here to make a difference. How about all of you?”
School Board Chair Amy Johnson thanked Haider for addressing the board.
“We really appreciate you coming tonight and expressing your concerns,” Johnson said. “I’m happy that Superintendent (Matt) Schoen had mentioned to me that he has already arranged to spend some time together with you. I think that’s a great next step in the process. We’ll certainly look forward to hearing what the results of that conversation are.”
When Haider said his “expectation would be that the board follows up with the efforts and whether or not we’re making a difference,” Johnson said that was a fair request.
Bond referendum update
Schoen provided a presentation about the bond referendum that will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
Question one regards $46 million in projects, including $24 million for a new school for grades four to six, $19.2 million in renovations to the middle school and high school, $1.4 million in renovations to the elementary school, and $1.4 million in renovations to the community education building.
Question two regards $19 million in projects, including $5 million for a new performing arts center, $4.5 million in activity space and field upgrades, $3.8 million for an addition and renovations to the Tiger Activity Center, and $2.7 million to upgrade the pool area installed in 1975.
Schoen said district residents would soon be able to calculate how much each question would cost using the school district’s website. For a $225,000 house, the tax cost associated with question one would be $329, while the impact of question two would be $153.
In addition to being able to calculate tax impact, interested individuals will be able to view Schoen’s full presentation.
Schoen also reported the Minnesota Department of Education had approved the project.
“We’re very, very excited the Department of Education has realized, ‘Yes, Delano, you do need to address the facility needs, and this is an appropriate way to address those needs,’” Schoen said.
In related business, the board voted 6-0, with board member Randy Durick absent, to approve a service agreement with Wold Architects and Engineers.
“They are the architects we have been working with, and they will help facilitate the bond referendum,” Schoen said. “Also, it is important to go through the design and development process.”
Similarly, the board unanimously approved an agreement with ICS Consulting.
“They will help us with day-to-day operations of the construction phase,” Schoen said. “They are our rep there on a day-to-day basis, regardless if it’s a new building or remodeling the repurposed space in the existing buildings.”
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• on a 5-1 vote, with Mark Larson dissenting, approved a standalone girls hockey program for the 2016-17 school year.
• on a 5-1 vote, with Carolyn Milano dissenting, voted to not allow open enrollment in kindergarten to cause the total enrollment to exceed 165 students. Currently, 162 students are enrolled, and a maximum of 165 would allow for seven sections with no more than 24 students in each section. Milano expressed concern about rejecting kindergarten students with siblings in other grades.
“I don’t think there is a family that has a situation where they have a child that’s not in a kindergarten class already,” Schoen said.
• approved several school personnel items.
• approved surplus items to be sold or disposed of, including 43 projectors, four HP printers, eight PCs, and one Peplink load balancer.