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Last day of school for Detroit Lakes students is May 22

The last day of classes for students at Detroit Lakes Public Schools will be Wednesday, May 22 — barring any further weather-related school cancellations or delays.

The Detroit Lakes School Board voted at its Monday meeting to designate both Thursday and Friday, May 23-24, as teacher work days, in part to allow teachers in the portable classrooms at Rossman Elementary School more time to move all their supplies and furniture out.

In order for Phase 1 of the district's $50 million construction project to commence on schedule this summer, the portable classrooms at Rossman must be emptied and removed from the site no later than June 1.

"Removal of the portables is critical," said Superintendent Doug Froke, adding that while the district would prefer to sell the portable structures by public bid, if they're not off the site by June 1, they will need to be demolished in order to meet the construction timetable.

Also at Monday's regular meeting, the board approved a revised 2018-19 districtwide budget that reflected a positive balance of total revenue over expenditures of just under $38 million, and a surplus in the general fund of $244,170.

The original budget approved by the board in June 2018 showed a projected budget deficit of $3.8 million; however, the revised budget approved on Monday reflected an adjustment for the proceeds of the bond sale that was completed after district voters approved a proposed referendum of $49.8 million for school facilities improvements in November, as well as nearly $370,000 in reductions to employee related expenditures, utilities, supplies and purchased services. The final districtwide budget for the current school year is slated for approval at the board's June meeting — the same meeting where they are expected to approve a preliminary budget for 2019-20.

In other business, Detroit Lakes Education Support Professionals (DLESP) Union President Tyia Patnode gave a presentation before the board. In it, she thanked the board for allowing the ESP's to take part in the ALICE emergency response training given to district staff on Wednesday, March 6. However, she also urged that the board work with them "to improve our relationship and start repairing damaged bridges," through improved communication, consideration and "a genuine show of respect."

"Too many ESPs believe that members of administration and the school board have no idea of what their jobs truly entail," Patnode said, reading from a prepared memorandum that was presented to the board prior to the meeting. "We know that there have been large numbers of turnover in ESPs. We know that we haven't always had the highest quality of people applying for these positions — we are some of the biggest proponents of changing that. We want quality, professionalism, and a sense of pride in the people who fill these important positions, working with our students. Isn't this what we all should want? We need to start working together to make some needed changes. Until we do, that revolving door is going to keep revolving. We are taking this step to hopefully initiate a joint effort towards strengthening the relationship between ESPs and the Detroit Lakes Public Schools."

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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