District 518 board approves FLY2 applicationBoard agrees to explore new quotes for bus services
WORTHINGTON — On a vote of 6-1, the District 518 board of directors Tuesday night approved the Flexible Learning Year 2 (FLY2) application. It will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education by the end of January
By: Jane Turpin Moore, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — On a vote of 6-1, the District 518 board of directors Tuesday night approved the Flexible Learning Year 2 (FLY2) application. It will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Education by the end of January.
Superintendent John Landgaard explained it was a consolidated application that included test data, information relating to the public hearings that were hosted, proposed school calendars, instructional hours and other required elements.
To date, two schools that were originally part of the 25-school consortium participating in FLY — Canby and Milroy — have opted out of continuing with FLY, which allows schools to begin their academic years prior to Labor Day.
One of FLY’s goals was to realize an improvement in student test scores due to additional instructional time prior to high-stakes testing in the spring.
“I believe there are many positives to FLY, but I feel many of the same benefits could be accomplished in the course of a normal school year,” expressed Scott Rosenberg, the lone dissenter.
“We’ve been told the state couldn’t turn the tests around fast enough to know if kids are able to graduate on time, but the Department of Motor Vehicles manages to give test results immediately,” continued Rosenberg.
“If they can do it, why can’t the Department of Education get test results out sooner? FLY hasn’t done what it was hoped to do, in terms of test scores, and I don’t think it’s worth continuing.”
Landgaard said the boards of other FLY schools would be putting the FLY2 application to a vote in the next two weeks.
Dave Skog, Director of Management Services, submitted a budget amendment to the board. He explained that the original budget is prepared in June, and in a typical year, it is necessary to make one or two adjustments.
This first adjustment of the current fiscal year allows for an additional expenditure of $250,000 for learning devices (on which staff can be trained in advance of them being given to students) and $250,000 toward the teacher retirement incentive approved by the board last month.
With those changes, the District 518 budget shows expected revenue of $29,648,281 for the year and $29,665,611 in expenditures.
Another item briefly discussed was the district’s bus contract.
“We have the opportunity to extend the busing contract with American Transportation for another one to two years, or to request quotes,” Landgaard said.
On a recommendation from the Operations Committee, the board agreed to shop around for new quotes for bus services. Attending this item was the question of whether or not District 518 should build its own bus terminal.
“Is there a savings for the district if we have our own terminal?” inquired Joel Lorenz.
“I’m not sure there would be a savings, but we might be paying for a bus company to build one eventually,” Landgaard replied.
Steve Schnieder made a motion that was seconded and unanimously approved to have District 518 administrators look into the potential cost, size, location and other variables involved in constructing a bus terminal.
Skog reported on the need for a limited site investigation where an underground tank was previously located at Worthington High School.
“An underground tank at the high school was taken out, and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency was not satisfied with the initial results,” Skog said. “Additional soil borings need to be taken around the site of the tank.”
GeoTek Engineering and Testing Services Inc. of Sioux Falls, S.D., will do that work for a $7,500 fee.
The academic calendar for the 2013-14 school year was approved, as were tentative calendars for the following two years. The 2013-14 calendar shows school beginning on Aug. 19, with a winter break starting Dec. 23 and concluding with the resumption of school on Jan. 6, 2014. Under the plan, graduation will take place May 16, although K-11th graders will not be finished until May 20, 2014.
Landgaard mentioned, in the superintendent’s report, that the practice of Release Time for religious education was currently only in use at Prairie Elementary, and primarily used by one church. A meeting will soon occur between District 518 administration, local youth ministers and the Worthington Ministerial Association to discuss ending the practice altogether and encouraging the churches to consider “other options for religious education.”
The consent agenda passed unanimously, with a few items of interest as follows:
* the resignation of Melissa Schutz as District 518’s head volleyball coach;
* the resignation of Fred Heille as ninth-grade football coach;
* the employment of Josh Wasmund as head softball coach;
* the employment of Steven Berndgen as seventh- and eighth-grade baseball coach.
The District 518 board will hold a special work session/meeting at 7 a.m. Jan. 28 at the District Office. The next regular meeting of the District 518 board is scheduled for 5:15 Feb. 19 in the Worthington High School Media Center.
For more information about recent proceedings of the District 518 board of directors, visit www.isd518.net/school-board.