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Brainerd School Board: State referendum results 'uniquely successful'

The Brainerd School Board listens to Superintendent Laine Larson speak Monday during a meeting in the board room at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd. Jennifer Stockinger / Brainerd Dispatch

How many questions, how much money and what is the success rate of a school building bond?

These are some of the questions the Brainerd School Board will have to decide when it turns to its voters to seek referendum approval after it develops its final facilities plan geared to meet the district's future needs of its students, staff and community.

Todd Rapp, one of the consultants involved in the referendum discussions with the school district, Monday gave the school board an update on November's school referendum election results in Minnesota.

Rapp said 41 school districts in the state had building bonds and 34 passed and 15 lost. Rapp said 25 of those districts were rural school districts and they had 29 questions for voters, with 16 questions passing and 13 failing.

Of the school buildings bonds, Rapp said 14 districts went to voters with a single question and eight passed and six failed. The other 27 school districts had multiple questions and 20 of the schools had at least one question that passed.

"Districts with one question had a 48 percent success rate and districts with multiple questions had a 67 percent success rate," Rapp said. "It was uniquely a successful day."

A special board meeting is scheduled at 5 p.m. Nov. 27 to determine the bond referendum election date and to discuss the facilities plan and the financial allocations involved.

The school board and administrative staff have spent hours upon hours of discussion with themselves, with staff and the community and have hired consultants to help them with the comprehensive plan.

In other school business:

Heard from Sarah Porisch, director of technology, on how the district has made advances in its technology since August of 2015 to November of 2017. Porisch said the district had 80 percent of its computers that were six years old or older in 2015 and now only 2.2 percent are that old. In 2015, one of every four students had access to a devices and now one of every two students have access to a device.

Porisch said teachers had to learn how to integrate devices into their curriculum since 2015 and the district has been able to accomplish this. She said the district has made great advances in technology and teachers are open to using the digital resources in their curriculum

"Seventy-seven percent of jobs require some degree of technology skills," Porisch said. "Businesses are telling us to teach students how to do the basics and then they can teach them specific programs they need for that particular business."

Approved resignations from Kevin McMenimen, the director of transportation; Patricia Lemke, a special education education assistant at the Washington Educational Services Building; and Bryce Chapman, a special education education assistant at Forestview Middle School.

Approved long term medical leaves for Kayla Anderson, David Herath, Tim Hill, Rebecca McCulley and Jeffrey Nelson.

Approved donations to Garfield and Harrison elementary schools, which include milk money, snacks, stocking hats and decks of card for math games.

Approved a two-day trip for a regional robotics competition for the Warrior Robotics Team scheduled in March of 2018 in Duluth.

Approved the third and final reading of the student activity accounting policy.

Approved the transfer of $24,301 from the general fund to the community education fund for pre-school screenings. School districts are reimbursed for health and development screening services provided to children ages 3-6 within 30 days of enrollment in a public school kindergarten. The reimbursement rates are $75 for each 3-year-old screened, $50 for each 4-year-old screened and $40 for each 5-year-old or 6-year-old screened prior to kindergarten enrollment; and $30 for children who have not previously been screened and are screened within 30 days after first enrolling in kindergarten. Screening is required for public school enrollment.

Approved a lease back six-month contract with Adventure Properties on property on the 100 block of Northwest Third Street, next to Riverside Elementary School.