District 518 plans temporary and permanent moves
The Nobles County Integration Collaborative is returning to West Elementary on a temporary basis by June 1.
WORTHINGTON — District 518 is preparing to make some big moves in the months ahead, including moving into the newly-built Intermediate School and temporarily moving the District Office to West Elementary to prepare for the District Office’s addition and renovations.
“There’s a lot of movement that’s happening this year,” Superintendent John Landgaard said Monday morning at the District 518 Board of Education’s Instructional Committee meeting.
At West, the District office will occupy the area where the Area Learning Center used to be before it moved to the new Learning Center building, as well as at least two classrooms on the east end of the building. Some old furniture will likely need to be declared surplus and sold, and the school will rent one or two storage pods for file cabinets and some other items from the district office.
“About 98% of West will be utilized next year,” Landgaard said.
The Nobles County Integration Collaborative is also returning to West Elementary on a temporary basis by June 1, with plans to move again to the Community Education building when that’s complete — likely in January.
District 518 is also looking to make some staffing moves, including creating a new dean of students position that would be responsible for administering the Virtual Instruction By Excellence — an online public schooling program — as well as supporting the Learning Center principal and the summer school and after-school programs. Enrollment in the Learning Center is increasing, but so is enrollment in the VIBE program, which is projected to reach 550 students next year — an increase of 150 from this year’s enrollment.
The dean of students would not need to have an administrative license, Landgaard said.
Overall, District 518 is still hoping to fill 23 positions for the 2022-23 school year, and is particularly in need of special education educators, as well as English learners and teachers in specialties including math, science and art. Additionally, one of the people who had tentatively accepted a position as a speech pathologist ultimately decided not to take the job.
Tom Prins, a member of the school board and the Instructional Committee, asked if Landgaard felt the hiring crunch was a true shortage of individuals rather than a pay issue.
Landgaard noted that there were many teachers in Minnesota not using their licenses anymore and that Minnesota’s licensure requirements are difficult compared with those of other states.
“But I just don’t think they’re out there. Or they’re out there, but they’re doing something new,” the superintendent added. “And right now, everybody keeps stealing (teachers) from everybody.”
In other news Monday, the committee:
- Agreed to add a staff member for the weight program for around $2,800 on a trial basis, which will need to go before the full board for approval at its 5:15 p.m. Tuesday meeting.
- Received a reminder that negotiations with some district administrators need to be completed, and that the committee is responsible for them.
- Learned that kindergarten enrollment is at about 202, which is lower than the projected enrollment of 250 students, Landgaard said, noting that some will likely move back into the district before school starts.
- Discussed the district’s efforts toward starting a preschool program for four-year-olds, which could potentially begin in the 2023-24 school year.