Legislature's actions could affect local schools, including District 518, superintendent says
“Crazy exists up there, and unfortunately, they don’t listen, in some cases, or some don’t listen.”
WORTHINGTON — As the Minnesota Legislative session continues and lawmakers prepare to make a historic investment in education, District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard cautioned that some of that funding could be eaten up by new mandates.
“So even though they may make a historic investment in education, there won’t be any new money,” Landgaard told the District 518 Board of Education’s Instructional Committee Monday.
Some schools, particularly small schools, may even face reductions, depending on which elements under discussion are passed, he said. For example, there are several new credit requirements on the table, which could potentially drive some schools to cut career and technical education programs or electives in order to fit the new requirements into students’ schedules.
Paraprofessionals could potentially be shifted to special education rather than serve as general classroom assistants for teachers, and additional teachers might need to be hired, Landgaard warned — despite the current region-wide teacher shortage.
“Crazy exists up there, and unfortunately, they don’t listen, in some cases, or some don’t listen,” he said. “It could be one of those sessions that schools go in reverse.”
Landgaard said both Democrats and Republicans are involved in some of the proposed changes, and asked school board members to speak with their legislators.
“We’re seeing, in a lot of areas of government, that common sense is just not there,” said committee and school board member Tom Prins.
In other news Monday, the committee:
- Approved increasing pay for long-term substitutes who are either licensed in the area they are to teach or past employees of District 518 to $275 per day. Other long-term substitutes receive $254. The increase will need to go before the full board for approval.
- Read a policy allowing the school to have opiate overdose medication available for emergency use. It will also need to go before the full board for approval.
- Learned that some staff non-renewals are ahead. Most of the non-renewals are due to licensure requirements, and the teachers whose contracts are not renewed will likely have the opportunity to reapply once the jobs are posted again, Landgaard said. There are also some non-renewals due to performance issues.
- Heard that progress on the Trojan Legacy Wall has been made, though slower than initially expected. The Legacy Wall offers individuals, families and organizations a chance to have their name engraved on granite on the wall, which will be a permanent fixture at Trojan Field.
- Learned that a school has accepted an invitation to become part of the Big South Conference, bringing its membership from 13 schools to 14. The school is Tri-County United, which has facilities in Montgomery, Le Center and Lonsdale, Minnesota.