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Rosburg explains school closing procedures

At Monday night’s Somerset Board of Education meeting, District Administrator Randy Rosburg outlined the procedure he follows when deciding whether to close school for an entire day, delay the start of school or let classes out early.

Rosburg said he had a request to outline the policy. He explained when the actual air temperature is nearing 30 below zero, that is grounds for closing. As for wind chill, if the wind chill is 30 below zero for a sustained period of time, then school will close for the day. Rosburg said this doesn’t include gusts of wind that don’t consistently maintain a low temperature.

If the weather forecasts predict warming later in the day, but brutal morning temperatures or wind chills, Rosburg will sometimes opt for a two-hour delay.

He said this year there have been no early releases due to weather. Rosburg said he uses many sources when deciding on school closings, including WCCO, AccuWeather, KARE 11, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), a local thermometer, information from the road crews of the five municipalities in the district and taking a drive himself.

Another variable is impassibility of roads, Rosburg said. He follows the Twin Cities stations for winter weather information because “anything across the river usually heads this way and hits us about 15 minutes after.”

He gathers information from the area road crews who keep him informed about road conditions and whether they will be safely passable at the start of school time, Rosburg said.

He tries to make a decision by 5:15 a.m. at the latest so parents can know by 5:30 a.m. and make the proper arrangements.

The board approved making March 7 and April 4 into full school days instead of early release days to help make up for missing school Feb. 21. Rosburg said should the district have a two-hour delay in the coming months, they have a cushion for that in the number of instructional minutes that are required by the Department of Public Instruction. Anything more than that would require another makeup day.

Rosburg said deciding to use the two half days to make up lost time was a difficult decision because it cuts into staff training time, but parents, educators and principals don’t want the school year to go any longer than it already is. Two days were already added to the end of the year: June 6 and 9. Otherwise, it could affect the start of summer school.

If another day should need making up, Rosburg said the district is considering May 2, another scheduled early release day.

Positive recognition

Maxwell Praschak, son of David and Sarah Praschak; Bailey White, son of Bobbi and John Melvin; head wrestling coach Trent Larrieu and assistant coaches Lloyd Larrieu and Austin Bushinger were honored for participating in the 2014 state wrestling tournament.

Adam Marty, son of James Marty and Sheila Baillargeon, was honored for being the 2014 American Mathematics Contest winner. He received the highest score in the Somerset School District, High School Principal Chris Moore said. He also received a $1,000 scholarship for his achievement from a 1983 Somerset alumnus.

Marty said he found the grading system of the test unique, and would advise fellow students to guess rather than leave answers blank. Each correct answer was worth six points; blank answers were worth 1.5 points; and wrong answers were zero points.

Rosburg also announced that Marty, a member of the Spartan hockey team, made team history by scoring 103 goals in his career, the highest in Somerset history. Marty said his future plans include either playing junior hockey or attending UW-River Falls, Minnesota State University - Mankato or St. Scholastica for physical therapy.

Other business

  •  The high school forensics team qualified for the district level competition.
  •  Mock trial finished third in district competition (its highest finish in years).
  •  The FBLA had four students qualify for state competition: Brianna Coerber, Claire Kielsa, Kaitlyn Nichols and Janae Rothe.
  •  The board approved the 2014-15 CESA 11 shared services contract, the 2014-15 spring coaching and advising assignments, the addition of a stipend for the assistant forensics advisor, hiring Jennifer Hinz as transportation secretary, and the resignation of gifted and talented instructor Rosanne Erickson at the end of the school year.
Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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