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LP-A school board reduces first grade, ECFE class sections

The teaching staff at Lake Park-Audubon Elementary School will be a little smaller next year.

The LP-A School Board voted to reduce the number of first grade class sections from three to two for the 2018-19 school year, due to the combination of a smaller projected enrollment — there are currently 43 students in the kindergarten class — and budget concerns.

Also at Monday night's meeting, the board voted to reduce the number of Early Childhood Education classes from three to two, beginning next fall, and made a couple of staffing reductions in the ECFE department as well.

The board voted to eliminate the ECFE administrative assistant position, and reduce the full-time position of ECFE/preschool coordinator and instructor Anne Braseth to .8 FTE — including a combination of .5 FTE preschool instructor and .3 FTE preschool/ECFE coordinator — beginning next fall.

Later in the meeting, during the visitor comments portion of the agenda, instructor Cole Wixo spoke up to point out that Braseth had apparently volunteered to take a reduction in her position, and was making "a big sacrifice" in the interest of her students.

Also, during an earlier visitor comment portion of the meeting — the agenda called for visitor comments both before the start of board business, and toward the end of the meeting — two parents of students in the district, Brian Ecker and Kevin Lefebvre, spoke out regarding their continued concerns regarding the school's head girls basketball coach, Jay Peterson.

Ecker noted his concerns that "the coach and his lawyers are still fighting... without changing his behavior."

"Some people just aren't suited to be coaches," said Ecker, noting that there have been several incidents of "bad behavior" on the coach's part that were reported over the past two years.

"Twelve girls have dropped out (of the girls basketball program) over the last two years," Ecker said. "That's alarming to me."

"I'm sick of all the closed door meetings, and nothing getting done about (the situation)," said Lefebvre, referring to the fact that Peterson had been reinstated after being briefly placed on administrative leave from his position while an investigation into his conduct was being conducted.

"It's the same old thing," Lefebvre added, providing school board members with a report containing a long list of complaints against the coach. "For two years in a row, there have been lots of complaints, and he's still around."

No comment was made by administration or school board members after the two parents spoke.

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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