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Pine River-Backus: School board takes advantage of snow-day legislation

The PR-B Tigers logo inside the entry doors at Pine River-Backus school. Echo Journal file photo.

The Pine River-Backus School Board decided not to pass a revised calendar with added days to replace lost snow days this school year.

During the Monday, April 15, school board meeting, Superintendent Dave Endicott presented the board with a calendar that extended the school year to June 5 for students and June 6 for teachers. Endicott's recommendation for the revised calendar included:

• Meeting students' needs for education.

• Providing work hours for hourly employees (cooks, bus drivers and paraprofessionals, among others) who have lost six days of pay.

• Meeting contract requirements for teachers, who are contracted for 182 days a year.

Endicott said his recommendation was informed in part by representatives of the school's various employees, some of whom will lose significant pay if not allowed to work the days lost to cancellations.

Board members largely approached the discussion from another perspective. Collectively, they were concerned:

• That some hourly employees schedule their seasonal summer work around the last day of school and an extended calendar could get in the way.

• That family plans for summer vacation may be disrupted or some students may simply skip.

• That students may not be engaged for the last three days of school.

• That the majority of paraprofessionals with summer employment may be absent during the last days.

The board voted against the proposed revised calendar, with Katy Botz being the sole vote in favor. Members preferred that the school take advantage of the Legislature's bill to allow leniency this year for missed school instructional hours.

Endicott said he would make a new calendar with the same May 30 end date and build in staff development days to help the teachers meet contract requirements. Board member Dawn Rubner said she thought they should make sure to include all of the teacher contract days, as the previous proposal included 181 of the 182 days. Endicott said he would make two calendars for the board to consider in May.

In other business Monday, the board:

• Learned Endicott would give a State of the District address Thursday, June 6, after the 5 p.m. work session.

• Learned interviews are underway for filling vacancies in the school. The district has verbal commitments from a career technical education instructor and a choir director. Administrators are hopeful to fill the technology coordinator position with an experienced candidate from a nearby district.

• Accepted the resignations of Jeff Lindstrom, industrial technology teacher, and Nicole Kevelin, paraprofessional, and authorized replacement of both positions.

• Approved hiring Christine Kenyon as a paraprofessional.

• Approved a list of election judges selected by Cass County.

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