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LP-A School Board OKs staffing changes at special meeting

A special meeting of the Lake Park-Audubon School Board was held Monday night in Lake Park to discuss staffing changes at the elementary school in Audubon.

But two late staffing changes at the high school were also on the table, as the resignations of language arts instructors Travis Hensch and Abby Swegarden were accepted.

The main purpose of the Monday night meeting, however, was to discuss a decision that had been tabled at the board’s regular June meeting. There had been some questions raised regarding the reassignment of first grade instructor Kristen Frank to a new position for a half-time media specialist and half-time math/reading interventionist.

Several board members had hesitated to take action on creating the new position without having a definitive job description in place, while others said that it might be prudent to take a step back and look at exactly what the overall staffing needs of the district were before making a final decision on the new position. Specifically, they were questioning whether it was necessary to add a new position to the district’s budget.

At Monday’s meeting, Elementary Principal Sam Skaaland presented not only a detailed job description for the position, but several reasons why it was needed, and noted that as the district was reducing its second and sixth grade classes from three to two sections for the upcoming school year, they were actually reducing the building’s teaching staff, not adding to it.

“Currently we have 160 students who need extra help (in reading and math) to meet the standards set by the state,” Skaaland said, noting that the teachers and administration would “take all the help we can get to have all of our students reading at grade level.”

In the end, the board acquiesced, approving Frank’s reassignment and authorizing advertisement of the opening for a full-time first grade instructor.

The board also authorized advertisement of the two language arts vacancies at the high school, as well as openings for two hourly Title 1 paraprofessional positions and a .375 FTE Early Childhood Family Education teacher at the elementary, along with a full-time special education paraprofessional for the preschool program. All of these openings were to fill vacancies created by resignations or reassignments, according to Superintendent Dale Hogie.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board committed up to $2,500 toward a proposal to build a new concrete basketball court on the elementary playground, matching a similar donation from the Audubon school’s Parent-Teacher Organization.

In other business, the board agreed to advertise for a temporary opening to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of board member Vicky Grondahl, effective Aug. 31. The appointment would only be until Dec. 31, as Grondahl’s position is set to be on the ballot in the November general election.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

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