Construction trumps spring break for another year in Brainerd

Brainerd School Board members listen to a presentation during their meeting Monday, Feb. 24, at the Washington Educational Services Building. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

For the second year in a row, Brainerd students and staff will see a shortened school year without a spring break in 2020-21 to lengthen the construction season.

The Brainerd School Board approved next year’s calendar Monday, Feb. 24, to include 168 student contact days, five shy of the district’s usual 173.

Students will start school Sept. 8, 2020, the day after Labor Day. Teachers at Harrison, Nisswa and the new Baxter Elementary School will be able to use Aug. 24-Sept. 4 as move-in days to transition into their new spaces, with staff development days scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 for teachers who are not moving. Staff using move-in days will have staff development training in May.

At Christmas, students will get out three hours early Dec. 23 and return to school Jan. 4. The last day of classes for kindergarten students will be May 20, with the rest of the students finishing up May 21, the same day as high school graduation.

President’s Day in February and the Monday after Easter in April are scheduled as snow makeup days, if needed. If no snow makeup days are needed, there will not be classes those days.


The week of May 24-28 will be dedicated as moving days for teachers at Lowell, Garfield and Riverside elementary schools who need to vacate their spaces before construction. Staff who used move-in days in August will have staff development training for two days during that week. Districtwide staff development is scheduled May 26.

This schedule allows for a longer summer for construction workers to complete building projects. Though it cuts the number of student contact days down to 168, the district is still in compliance with the department of education, which requires 165. After construction is complete, though, Superintendent Laine Larson said the district will return to its normal 173 days of school for students.

“We feel that we need two summers where we can really get the work that we need done to finish off the major parts of our projects,” Larson said.

In other business Monday, the school board:

Accepted the following hires: Rachele Gunter, a secretary at Washington Educational Services Building; Kathleen Mueller, long-term substitute special educational paraprofessional at Harrison Elementary School; Britt Orton, long-term substitute special education paraprofessional at Lowell Elementary School; and Jie Westphal, long-term substitute special education paraprofessional at Forestview Middle School.

Accepted donations to the district: $1,000 from Graphic Packaging for the Brainerd High School robotics program; $2,000 from Crow Wing Power for the community education Fathers Reading Every Day program; snow pants, hats, gloves and jackets from Bethlehem Lutheran Church for students in need; $250 from Cosmetic Dentistry for the community education summer parks and recreation program in Baxter.

Approved a plan for staff laptop refreshment. With the warranties expiring on teachers’ current laptops, the district has ordered 635 new Toshiba Dynabook laptops for staff members, at a cost of $920 per device. The retail cost can reach up to $1,500 or more. The district will pay $151,000 out of the general fund for the laptops each year for four years. The cost is covered in the technology department’s budget. Because the district purchased the computers through a Sourcewell contract with the tech company CDW, it will receive a 1% rebate.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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