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NR School Board approves shortened final day for students

With four extra hours of school left in the bank, the New Richmond School Board approved an early dismissal day for Friday, June 7, during its Monday, May 20 regular board meeting.

"This is the last time — I promise — to bring the 2018-2019 calendar to you. I think that will get a large applause district-wide," said District Administrator Patrick Olson. "This is to formally approve this and move the last day to an early out. June 10 would then be a full PLD day where principals and staff can focus in on end of the year things."

2019-2020 budget

With the 2019-2020 budget starting to take shape, Director of Fiscal and Building Operations Brian Johnston gave the board a preview of what the budget will look like. The biggest change for the new year's budget is that the district will need to move money from the general fund to the special education budget.

"We are going to spend about $5.7 million and the state is going to give us about $2 million and locally we are going to have make up that $3.99 million. That is done via the general fund," said Johnston.

Currently, Johnston is looking at a 2.44% wage increase ($1,400 supplemental for teachers), a 4% increase in health care and steps for support staff. Johnston also said that the budget has a reduction in both the technology budget ($100,000) and the capital fund budget ($60,000). This means, Johnston said, that the district will have to do more patching of its blacktops and pavement rather than a full replacement, which he said will be needed soon.

NRHS Stadium update

Olson reported on the progress of the NRHS Stadium, including showing the board synthetic turf samples for the field and running through the next construction steps.

Currently, the turf installation looks like it will start July 2, with the other projects to be completed throughout the summer. Olson said the construction currently has a two-week buffer built in to finish all projects before the next school year in case weather over the summer causes delays.

One of the next steps for the stadium is to get pricing on the stadium seating and figure out what kind of set up the district wants. Olson also said the district is looking at getting a FEMA grant to possibly build a storm shelter at the high school, which would be the first in the New Richmond community.

With the aggressive construction timeline the district has set, Olson believes the projects can be completed by 2020, with several projects being completed by this fall.

Other items

• The board approved all but three incoming open enrollment applications for the 2019-2020 school year.

• The board approved the creation of a new biology teacher position at the high school, pending enrollment and the final budget.

• The board approved an "alternative school food authority agreement and terms" with St. Mary Catholic School for the 2019-2020 school year.

• The board approved the high school, middle school and elementary school handbooks for the 2019-2020 school year.

• The board approved a 10 cent increase to school lunches at all levels, as well as a 5 cent increase for breakfast at the high school, which will allow the staff to create different menus to better utilize the equipment available at the high school.

• The board approved the purchase and installation of a new bell/paging system at Starr Elementary, at a cost of $22,878.68, from Tierney. The funds for the system will come from Department of Justice grant money.

• The board approved the purchase of new work stations for the high school weight room, at a cost of $32,783.82. The new equipment will allow the creation of 16 complete work stations where students can complete 80% of their workouts on a daily basis and will create more space in the weight room. The funds will come from various budgets within the district, including the athletic teams activity accounts.

• The board approved a proposal to repair cracks at the middle school track running area, as well as resurfacing the newly paved runway for the long and high jump areas by Athletic Surface Constriction, at a total cost of $26,572.

• The board also approved a proposal for patching of various parking lots throughout the district by Monarch, at a cost of $52,491.47.

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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