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New NR High School caught in power struggle

At a meeting earlier this summer, the New Richmond School Board heard proposals from the City of New Richmond Utilities and St. Croix Electric Cooperative to provide power to the new high school.

After in-depth discussion, the School Board chose to receive electrical services from St. Croix Electric Cooperative.

"The School Board accepted the proposal from SCEC because we believed it had the most positive effect on the Board's operating cost for electrical services to the new high school," said Morrie Veilleux, district administrator. "We saw a $40,000 per year savings if we went with the SCEC proposal."

At Tuesday's Board meeting, Veilleux told the Board he has received a letter from the president of the New Richmond Utilities Commission asking the Board to reconsider their decision.

After much discussion, the School Board directed Veilleux to answer the letter on their behalf stating they were comfortable with their original decision.

At this point, the two electrical companies are trying to determine who has the right to serve the electrical needs of the new high school, according to Veilleux.

"We are just stuck in the middle of it for now," Veilleux said. "I don't believe this will affect our building schedule in any way."

In other business:

• The Board approved eight teaching assistant positions for those children not identified as special services, but who may be at-risk for reading and math. The funding is already in the budget, according to Sue Curtis, director of special services.

• The Board approved the district administrator's contract for 2008-2010, which was last reviewed in executive session.

• Veilleux provided an update on Richmond Way, saying the water is hooked up to Hillside Elementary and the sewer is also hooked up.

• Brian Johnston, director of fiscal and building operations, and Bob Parent, supervisor of buildings and grounds, presented the Board with a long-range facilities plan for the District. It includes yearly inspections of each building for safety and maintenance issues.

• The food service workers voted 11-4 to be represented by the Teamster's Union. The Teamster's representative has not contacted the Board to set a date for contract negotiations yet.

• Hudson students Aaron Ludgatis, Ben Luehrs, Peter Maki and Michael Perucca apologized to the Board for their participation in the vandalism to New Richmond High School's track a year ago June.

• The Board agreed to post the position of director of curriculum and staff development by the end of this week. This position was left open when Deb Heyerdahl left last month. The Board stressed the importance of hiring someone with experience as a building principal for this position.