By LORAE VARDAS, Correspondent
With 18.5 days of school left before the advent of summer vacation, Pierz school officials decided students will not have to come back in June to make up a recent snow day. High school graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 31, at 7 p.m. in the Memorial Athletic Complex (MAC).
Supt. George Weber informed the Board that the state is not penalizing schools this year for not meeting the minimum 1,020 hours required by statute. Pierz is nine hours short, he said. However, teachers will be returning in June for a workshop day.
Healy High students will showcase their accomplishments at the annual awards night Wednesday, May 8, beginning at 6 p.m. with fine/industrial arts displays, music by the jazz band, club/academic achievements and refreshments. Presentation of scholarships is always a highlight of the evening. The public is welcome to attend the free event.
Excavation for a safer entryway at the high school is anticipated to begin Monday, May 20. The Board scheduled a special meeting for Monday at 7:30 a.m., to review and award the bids. “We actually have no one locally who showed interest in carpentry and only one in masonry,” Weber said. “So we are working to find other vendors to bid on those components.”
Weber also reported receiving a $5,000 grant from the Region 5 Economic Development Commission earmarked for a shelter near the softball and youth baseball fields. Currently, there is no shelter in that area east of Pioneer Elementary. The construction class likely will provide the labor.
Another grant application resulted in delivery of a large scissors lift for the district. The grant covered about one-third of the cost of the equipment used to reach high areas in the gym.
In addition to winding down the school year and gearing up for summer improvement projects, administrators are monitoring legislative action in St. Paul.
“The Senate and the House each completed their overall education bills and there are some significant differences. Both are also quite different than what the Governor proposed, so all these discrepancies will have to be worked out in conference committee,” Weber said.
Pierz School Board Briefs
In other agenda items at the April 26 meeting, the Pierz School Board:
• Recognized Frank Voigt as he was presented a Driver of the Year award from the Minnesota Association of Pupil Transportation. In retirement, Voigt has spent the past six years of his nine years as a bus driver transporting students with special needs. “He is the first and last person to have contact with a child,” said his nominator. “With the biggest heart and smile for these kids, he keeps in close contact with parents, paraprofessionals and home health aides;”
• Gave preliminary approval for the 2014 senior class trip to Washington, D.C. and New York City as requested by Dean Dahmen, DeAnna Fuhrman and Roxanne Welle. Planned fundraisers and survey results of this year’s trip were reviewed. Travel agencies and plane fares are being researched to make it the best possible cultural, historical and educational experience for the 43 interested seniors;
• Passed a resolution for membership in the Minnesota State High School League, thereby adopting the League’s official handbook as the minimum standards governing eligibility and participation in League sponsored activities;
• Granted a parent transportation contract with Annette Miller Ross to drive students from home to the Morrison/Crow Wing County border and back retroactive from Sept. 4, 2012;
• Approved purchasing a 2013 International 77 passenger school bus from Hoglund Bus Company for $90,000 through an National Joint Powers Association (NJPA) contract;
• Accepted the resignation of Barb Reese as bus aide effective April 5 and hired Brenda Bleeker as a replacement aide;
• Authorized posting for a high school math teacher for the 2013-2014 school year to fill a vacancy due to the resignation of Simon Waltman. Also being posted are summer school positions at Pioneer Elementary and Healy High School;
• Gave probationary teacher Brad Irwin a notice of termination/non-renewal of his contract next year as part-time Ag instructor;
• Ratified two-year contracts with the principals as negotiated for 2012-2014; and
• Employed Olivia Hoff as high school English teacher for the 2013-2014 school year. She holds a master of arts degree and replaces Mark Gray, longtime English and college composition teacher, upon his retirement.
The Board next meets Wednesday, May 29 at 6 p.m. in the High School Media Center.