The Regional Report: New Staples superintendent questions student activity eligibility policy



Barrett Petfood Innovations is a step closer to locating a facility in the Little Falls industrial park, the Morrison County Record reported July 7. The city council approved the sale of the land by the school district to the company -- which produces premium and exotic pet foods at its current location on Highway 25 north of Pierz -- for $1 as part of a tax-increment financing agreement. The school district will receive $494,000 for the land over the course of nine years. Next, the company must acquire building permits for the site. Once possible snag to plans lies in the city’s natural gas supply. The current gas company told the city it will not increase its supply, which could pose a problem for locating a large processing facility. Finance Director Lori Kasella said the city was looking for other options and if it wasn’t resolved, the land sale would be canceled.


Landlords will face additional oversight in the city of Pine River after the council passed a resolution requiring the registration of rental properties, the Echo Journal reported Thursday, July 18. The city will conduct an initial inspection of the rentals, followed by additional inspections as needed. Failure to comply with the registration -- which costs $30 -- would result in fines and eventually misdemeanors, according to the ordinance. The city council sought to establish the ordinance in an effort to improve the appearance and safety of some of the city’s rental properties.


If students’ grades are below a C-, they are ineligible to be involved in extracurricular activities in the Staples-Motley School District, and the new superintendent wants to know why, the Staples World reported Wednesday, July 17. The policy differs from most schools in the state, according to Superintendent Shane Tappe, that follow the Minnesota State High School League standard of allowing students to participate when they’ve achieved any grade higher than an F. Tappe said while he wasn’t suggesting the standard be lowered, he wanted to know whether the policy had shown any measurable results, such as increased graduation rates. He added in his experience, some students needed extracurricular activities.

Board member Bruce Lund said in his experience in special education, some students may not have a C-, but may be working hard to improve. Other concerns included whether the timing of when a teacher enters an assignment could affect a student’s eligibility, and the fact students who’ve violated the substance abuse policy are ineligible for just two weeks compared to potentially an entire season for those with academic issues. Tappe requested the district re-evaluate the policy and its clarity for students and parents.


City officials in Upsala are underwhelmed by the services provided by Community and Economic Development Associates, the Morrison County Record reported July 7. The nonprofit assists cities with community planning, grant writing, economic development and related tasks, according to its website. Upsala has paid the organization $1,250 per quarter for a year and in that time, they’ve completed one grant application -- which the city clerk actually had to finish and submit herself. The grant application would’ve supported upgrades to the city’s park, one of the priorities Community and Economic Development Associates identified in its initial assessment. Despite their disappointment, the city council agreed to retain the organization’s services for one more quarter in hopes of more results. As for the organization, representatives acknowledged a lack of communication attributed to a lack of results.


-- Compiled by Chelsey Perkins, community editor. Perkins may be reached at 218-855-5874 or Follow her on Twitter @DispatchChelsey or on Facebook at

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