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Pequot Lakes School: Snow days, staffing discussed at board work session

Echo Journal file photo.

With the district taking four "snow days" so far this school year, the Pequot Lakes School Board began discussions of finding a day in the calendar to potentially make up for lost time.

As it currently stands, the district is scheduled to have students for 165 days, which is the legally required minimum.

"With four days closed, we are right at 165," superintendent Chris Lindholm said. "In other words, with one more (weather-related) day off of school, we would be required by law to add student contact days ... Being that it is early February and we have all of February and March to go, the recommendation is to add May 31 (as a student contact day)."

The district calendar currently has classes ending Thursday, May 30, with May 31 serving as a teacher inservice day. Discussion arose during the board's Monday, Feb. 4, work session regarding the possibility of eliminating a scheduled day off from the calendar - like the Monday following Easter - or shortening spring break, but the consensus was that may cut into travel and recreation plans already in place for staff and families.

Lindholm informed the board it could also conditionally add May 31 as a student contact day and remove it from the calendar at a later date if no more school days are cancelled due to weather.

The board is expected to vote on the matter in its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 11.

Also discussed during the work session was the possibility of adding six full-time employee positions to the district - four to the secondary campus - to coincide with enrollment projections that forecast an influx of nearly 100 students within the next three years.

"One key question you should be asking as board members is, 'Can we afford that?'" Lindholm said. "The dollars follow the students. Every kid brings in about $10,000. Obviously that number varies ... but when we average it through our system, it is about $10,000 per student. We should be using those dollars to add FTEs (full-time equivalent employees)."

In addition to the four teaching positions, the district also requests the hiring of two High Reliability Schools coaching positions to help the district further implement the High Reliability Schools system, helping the district eliminate smaller issues and build toward an individualized education for students while providing a safe and collaborative culture.

The board will vote on the hirings at its regular meeting.

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

(218) 855-5879