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LP-A to fill out survey determining best option

A community survey will be sent to residents of the Lake Park-Audubon School District sometime in the next few weeks, asking for their input on what should be done about the district's school facility needs.

LP-A Superintendent Dale Hogie said Tuesday that the survey is an attempt to get feedback from the community on "what the district's needs are" and "what alternatives they would support (for upgrading district facilities)."

As noted during Monday's school board meeting, however, some of the "alternatives" that have been proposed -- and rejected --in the past are simply not feasible.

For instance, the possibility of purchasing and renovating the Country Furniture building in Lake Park for use as a high school was examined, but not pursued because once all the costs -- building purchase, renovation, acquisition of additional land for athletic fields, furniture, etc. -- were added up, the total was "very near the cost of a new building," Hogie noted.

In the coming months, two additional surveys will be sent out, he added. One, which will be sent out strictly to parents with students attending LP-A, will seek input on educational programming needs. The other will be sent to parents who have chosen to open enroll their children in neighboring school districts.

"Those (open enrollment) numbers have gone up significantly," Hogie said. The purpose of the survey is to discover the answer to the question, "Are there things we can do locally to help retain these students, and to bring some of these children and families back into the district?"

In other business Monday, the LP-A school board voted unanimously, by roll call, in favor of terminating the contracts of three probationary instructors at the end of the 2007-08 school year: Michelle Ecklund, high school science teacher; Marilyn Olson, elementary special education teacher; and Kelli Langerud, elementary teacher.

They also voted to advertise openings for a half-time elementary instructor, an elementary special education instructor and a .153 FTE high school science teacher.

In addition, the board voted to advertise an opening for a part-time counselor, to be funded by a Comprehensive Crisis Response (CCR) grant through a mental health partnership with over 20 other area agencies. LP-A's share of the 22-month grant will be $10,000. The counselor will be a trained specialist, or "triage therapist," who will be able to assist mental health professionals with providing services to students.

The board also approved a three-year contract with Eide Bailly, LLP, for school audit services through fiscal year 2010. The contract, which was tabled at the board's April meeting, will pay the auditing firm a total of $11,100 in FY 2008, $11,600 in FY 2009, and $12,200 in FY 2010.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454