By Jon Tatting—
The Rush City School Board on April 19 approved a staffing plan to help second grade reading and math group sizes, free up media specialist time for high school and elementary needs and provide an additional elective at the high school.
Under the plan, board members agreed to add a 1.17 full-time equivalent (FTE) teacher, costing about $60,000, for the 2012-13 school year. A second grade teacher will be reassigned to split duties between second grade and elementary computer lab.
A media specialist will continue to manage both high school and elementary media centers and provide library instruction to grades 3-6. Meantime, an elementary media paraprofessional will work with grades 1-2 in the library, which will reduce the para’s hours by 30 minutes a day.
The plan means a full-time second grade teacher will be hired, while the ADSIS (reading program)/geography teacher will be increased to full-time.
High school, early childhood reports
In his report to the board, high school principal Stuart Fuhs noted he and the nine Spanish 4 students had a “wonderful trip to Costa Rica” over spring break. The students may present a photo slideshow of their experience to the board at a future meeting.
Also, Rush City band students earned high marks at the Minnesota State High School League Solo and Ensemble Contest last month at Ogilvie High School.
Receiving a superior rating were Marissa Belau, Justin Marty, Julia Westman, Jordyn Churchsmith, Eddie Lutrell and Keanna Belau. Other students along with the Jazz Band received excellent ratings.
“This is the first time since Mr. Kuehn has been here that all Rush City soloists have received an excellent or higher rating,” said Fuhs.
Early Childhood Coordinator Julie Thom discussed how preschoolers are taking to and becoming motivated by the iPad. She provided a number of the electronic devices to board members and others at the meeting for a little exercise in how they are used in the classroom.
In other news, the board:
• Authorized for quotes/bids on milk, fuel, snowplowing and food service products for the 2012-13 school year.
• Approved a contract agreement between North Branch and Rush City schools for alternative education services for at-risk students.
• Received an update on the pool and approved the pool budget, as presented by Lee Rood and Bob Schlagel. The pool is set to open on Monday, June 4 to begin an 84-day season. Rood and Schlagel emphasized working with the city on informing visitors (via maps on the city’s website) how to get to the pool through the road construction.
• Agreed to provide $3,000 for the softball field shelter that is being constructed.
• Learned the St. Croix River Education District (SCRED) office building project in downtown Rush City is making progress and received approval from the Minnesota Department of Education. Pending the bidding process, construction is expected to begin soon.
• Authorized bids for repairing the recreation center roof. The project won’t begin until after the pool closes for the summer.
In personnel actions, the board approved:
• An additional track coach for the 2011-12 season only (Mark Henrich-JH track).
• Mary Kurvers for the technology integration position. She will continue as a teacher on special assignment for 2012-13.
• High school art teacher Katherine Johnson’s request for a family medical leave from Sept. 4, 2012 through May 3, 2013.
• Jessica Johnson, new food service employee; Meghan Preissing, high school special education teacher beginning next school year; and Paul Sommerfeld, bus driver for kindergarten route.
• Individual SCRED contracts, from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014, for Kim Gibbons, executive director; Jamie Nord, special education director; and Troy Ferguson and Sarah Brown, unique learner managers.