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Pine River-Backus School: Board to seek feedback through survey

Echo Journal file photo.

In June, the Pine River-Backus School Board approved a survey through Morris Leatherman Company that will look at public perceptions of the school district. The board discussed the survey again briefly at its Monday, Aug. 20, meeting.

The 64-question survey will be taken via telephone. Board member Katy Botz said she had been under the impression the phone numbers would come from voter rolls, though when she voted in the recent primary they did not ask for her number.

Superintendent Dave Endicott said he would look into the source for the phone numbers.

Subjects of the survey will be chosen at random from local residents and then called likely two weeks after Labor Day. The survey will ask about public perception of the school district, strengths and weaknesses, academic performance and safety.

The survey will also ask about the local level of support for building projects such as construction of career tech spaces, media center updates, the football field, track facility and storage facilities with bus parking. Finally, the survey will ask about the taker's opinion on possible tax impact.

The board is also starting to organize a new strategic planning process guided by Endicott now that the current strategic plan is five years old.

In other business Monday, the board:

• Got an update on the solar project. The plan is waiting on completion of a public hearing Sept. 11 with the Pine River City Council. If the council makes zoning changes that will allow the project to continue, construction could start Sept. 12.

• Learned that some PR-B staff are getting advanced training to work with students who have experienced trauma.

• Thanked board member Richie Bean for his time on the board. Bean did not file for re-election.

• Learned that Endicott is giving his monthly Tiger Pride award to Jolene Bengtson and Cindy Felthous in recognition of their hard work in preparing for the school's audit. Endicott also named the custodial staff as a winner for this month, saying they have done a great job preparing the building ahead of schedule.

• Learned the incoming kindergarten class will be smaller than anticipated. As a result, the school will have three sections of kindergarten.

• Hired Kendra Findley as dance coach; Jenny Travis as junior high volleyball coach; Noelle Kuitunen-Johnson as elementary music adviser and vocal coach; Ben Kinser as pep band, pit orchestra director and band extra performance adviser; Naomi Horn as high school vocal music adviser; Jennifer Anderson as drama adviser; Shaun Howard as student council adviser; Heidi Hansen as paraprofessional; Tracy DeGrote as transportation dispatcher and van driver; and Gerald Logelin as bus driver.

• Accepted resignations of paraprofessional Cathy Larson, bus driver Steve Dahms and custodian Luke DeLong and authorized replacement.

• Terminated the 2018 football scout agreement with Terry Holden.

• Approved the 2018-19 high school student handbook.

• Set 2018-19 adult meal prices at $1.80 for breakfast and $3.75 for lunch.

• Renewed a contract with Northern Pines Mental Health Center.