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Brainerd students to make up one more snow day

Students in the Brainerd School District may be jumping for joy as they have to make up just one more school day they lost this winter.

In total, Brainerd students had five snow days off this winter. The Brainerd School Board already approved using April 21 to make up one of the snow days.

On Monday, Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo presented the school board with three options regarding the remaining four snow days, but in the end the board made a new option. The board voted to add one day at the end of the year and to see if it’s possible to make an already scheduled early-out day on April 2 to be a full day.

This means kindergarten students’ last day will be June 3; first- through fourth-graders’ last day will be June 4; and fifth- through 12th-graders last day will be June 5.

“The weather in Minnesota has been very challenging for us and for schools across the state,” said Razidlo. “It’s unlikely any recommendation may garner unanimous support.”

The teachers will have to make up all of the days. The Education Minnesota Governance Board has approved that and one of the snow days can be a floating in-service day for the 2014-15 school year.

The options Razidlo presented included: adding two student days; adding no days and only staff days; or adding 12 minutes to student days from March 31 to the end of the school year.

Razidlo recommended adding only staff days as he said it would provide the least disruption to family and community scheduling.

“I understand that the loss of five student days is a great loss to the learning many may do this year, but I also question the value of adding days only at the end of the school year or to every student day against the disruptions caused by changed family schedules and possible poor attendance on any last days added on the back end of an otherwise finished year.”

Board member Chris Robinson made a motion to accept the superintendent’s recommendation to adding only staff days, but he wanted the students to go to school for the full day on the early release day. Board member Reed Campbell seconded the motion, but Board Chair Ruth Nelson and board member Sue Kern did not vote in favor, so the motion failed as board members Bob Nystrom and Tom Haglin were absent.

Nelson made the motion to add one on more student day and it passed unanimously.

In other school business, board members:

Hired Emily Hennek as an emotional and behavior disorder teacher at Garfield.

Accepted resignations for Katrina Ostergren, who works in the transportation department, which was effective March 11; and Nancy Waller, the secretary at Lowell Elementary School. which will be effective June 15.

Accepted unpaid two-year leave of absences for two Brainerd High School math teachers: Don Engen and Joel Lofstrom.

Accepted several donations, which included $16,974 in grants for district staff; $4,000 from Nisswa Enhanced Reading fund of the Brainerd Lakes Area Community for classroom books and reading programs at Nisswa Elementary School; and $8,353 from the Baxter Parent Teacher Organization for iPads at Baxter Elementary School.

Approved a proposed two-year renewal of the district’s agreement with Baxter for the school’s resource officer at a rate of $29,339 in 2013-14 and $30,440 in 2014-15.

Heard a response from Razidlo of a letter from the Minnesota Department of Education on the achievement gap. The letter states the district is currently “on track” to meet the 2017 goal of reducing the achievement gap by 50 percent.

Approved a temporary lease agreement with Heartland Animal Rescue Team to use the high school farm while they working on a major construction project. The lease is for $1 and has to also be approved by the Crow Wing County Board.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at or 855-5851. Follow on Twitter at