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Pequot Lakes School: Board approves hiring six new positions

Echo Journal file photo

In its Monday, Feb. 11, meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board agreed to hire six new staff members for the 2019-20 school year to counter a projected enrollment increase.

The board first approved hiring four new teachers - one for language arts, science, math and Spanish - for the middle and high schools. The action passed unanimously.

Board members then voted on hiring for two High Reliability Schools coaching positions. The motion passed 6-1, with board member Dena Moody voting against the measure, citing a lack of clarity on the necessity of the two positions.

"I really don't feel that it is fiscally responsible ... The salaries on these positions are perceived as a luxury tax on our taxpayers, who have not been informed of this practice in education," Moody said. "People don't understand the concepts of these teaching coaches. I strongly feel that we have a greater need for more classroom instructors and behavior interventionists. Teacher coaches, to me, are more of a 'want.'"

Board member Mike Erholtz stated the hirings would be the next step in a system the district has used for some time, and with eight months before the start of the new school year, clarity could be provided to those who need it.

"We have been involved with the High Reliability School model for three or four years now," Erholtz said. "This is a step that is coming at the recommendation from the administration. That alone is good enough for me ... I don't want to belittle this, but there is time to do the explaining that might need to be done."

Board chair Kim Bolz-Andolshek, who works in a professional learning capacity, said the majority of school districts throughout the nation have teaching coaches, and that Pequot Lakes is "atypical" for operating without them.

In other action Monday, the board:

• Approved the school calendar for the 2019-20 school year. The board approved "Option B," which most closely resembles the current school year.

• Approved seven donations to the district totalling $10,528.80.

• Agreed to hire night custodian Mark Lang and Language Teaching Studies teacher Sarah Emerson, and approved the resignation of Eagle View Elementary School paraprofessional Tracy Chase.

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.

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