Legislators visit with District 282 School Board

Three Minnesota legislators attended the District 282 School Board meeting Tuesday, Oct. 18, to visit with School Board members about updates in the legislature. State representatives Char Samuelson and Barb Goodwin and State Sen. Satveer Chaudhary gave a legislative report and then asked board members how the formula increase had affected the district.

“It certainly was an improvement over zero, zero and zero,” said Superintendent Bob Duncan, referring to funding increases in previous years. “But it loses its impact when you finally get [an increase] because you’re trying to make up for zero, zero and zero.” Duncan told the legislators the district was primarily using the increase to pay bills and keep the schools’ doors open. Increases in insurance, contract settlements, and rising heating costs will all pose monetary challenges for the district this year.

Seven-period day

The board members and legislators also discussed the benefits of the seven-period day, which District 282 had to cut to six periods last year because of funding difficulty, according to School Board Chair Mike Volna. The cuts forced students to relinquish study halls and the advisory program and made completing electives more challenging.

“One goal is to return to the seven-period day,” Volna said. “We’re not sure we’re going to be able to make it all happen. We’ll make that change when we know we can sustain it.”

Student Representative Ryan Volna told legislators he had experienced difficulty with the six-period day as he tried to fit music, health and physical education classes into his schedule.

“The seven-period day was very, very good. The six-period day was difficult,” he said.

Other board members echoed a desire to return to a seven-period day.

“It’s the roundedness of the education that goes away,” said Board Member Rick Dunn.

Board Member Dave Evans felt the decision to move to a six-period day had eliminated a lot of choice.

“But I don’t know if we have the money to get [the seven-period day] back,” he added.

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