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Brainerd Public Schools: Brainerd students will not make up April snow day

Brainerd School District Superintendent Laine Larson (left) walks school board member Sue Kern and others through business during a meeting Monday, April 22, at the Washington Educational Services Building. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

After a late snow day April 11, the Brainerd School District decided not to change this year's academic calendar but instead added eight additional certified staff hours in the 2019-20 school year.

With multiple snow days during this school year, the district already added four makeup days to this year's calendar. Superintendent Laine Larson said during a board meeting Monday, April 22, this decision comes after much discussion and a conversation with administration at the Pequot Lakes School District.

Instead of adding another day to the 2018-19 school year, Larson said certified staff members will have three options for how to spend their extra eight hours next year.

• Packing/moving to get ready for relocating during building projects.

• Professional development, as Larson said the district is really short of professional development opportunities.

• Cultural competency training for staffers who have to renew their teaching licenses. Cultural competency, Larson said, is a Minnesota Department of Education requirement for license renewals.

"We still have plenty of days in our calendar; we have plenty of hours in our calendar," Larson said Monday. "And I really believe that this would be the best use of our time rather than adding on another day that first week in June when we already have the shovels in the ground and we already have construction beginning, and many of our people have to be out of our buildings anyway."

Construction on the new Baxter Elementary School is set to begin by June 3.

In March, the board scheduled a snow makeup day for students Friday, May 31, and snow makeup days for staff June 3-5. June 3-4 will be staff development days for staff while June 5 will be a day for staff to pack/reorganize to get ready for building projects. June 6 is a half-day teacher workshop.

In other business Monday, the board:

Approved the hiring of Erica Embertson, a speech language pathologist at Paul Bunyan Education Cooperative.

Approved the resignation of Mandy Melby, family and consumer sciences teacher at Brainerd High School.

Approved requests to add a full-time technology integrationist and online programming coordinator at Brainerd High School and a full-time special education teacher at Brainerd Learning Center.

Authorized the acquisition of 619 Fourth Avenue NE, a property near Lowell Elementary School, after entering into closed session. The agenda stated board members were to discuss the acquisition of 505 16th St. SE during the closed session as well, but they did not take action on that item. Both property acquisitions are part of the district's ongoing preparations for building projects.

Authorized the sale of general obligation facilities maintenance and tax abatement bonds to Baird of Milwaukee, Wis. for $20.25 million. With both bonds issued in March, the general obligation bonds are to fund the acquisition and betterment of projects included in the district's 10-year facility plan, while the tax abatement bonds are to cover a portion of the costs to finance the construction of and improvements to district parking lots and related work.

Authorized the sale of a certificate of participation—a tax-exempt lease financing agreement—to Bank of America Merrill Lynch for $9.48 million to finance building additions at district facilities. This agreement is used by a public entity to acquire real property. Under the agreement, the entity will make regular payments over the contract for the acquisition and use of property.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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