Swanville schools to move ALC and keep staff

By Kerry Drager, Correspondent

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has approved the Swanville School District’s Statutory Operating Debt (SOD) plan. The school will now work carefully to cut spending from its operating budget. The School Board approved an option that will save the school $239,396 during the 2014/2015 school year.

To make the budget cuts possible without cutting staff so deeply, Molly Springs Alternative Learning Center (ALC) will be moved into the Swanville High School building. ALC will continue to have separate classrooms and courses from the high school but will share building space. This will save the school a projected $4,500, plus an additional $16,704 in staffing costs.

Aside from saving money, moving the ALC will also allow the school to float staff and provide a better support system for the kids and teachers.

“If we bring them into the building we have more control on things and we’ll be able to help them out better,” said Supt. Gene Harthan.

With the approved leave of ALC and high school science teacher, Paul McKinley, and the Board’s decision to keep that position vacant next year, the school will be able to keep many of the staff that were facing an unrequested leave of absence or non-renewal. Pam Czech, Marvin Poegel and Garry Bahe will keep their current hours but will begin spending some time in the ALC next year.

“The bottom line is, we want to keep staff,” said Board Member Jay Loven.

A full-time English teacher may also be considered again with this change.

Staff that were approved to be cut next year include custodian Marie Mollner and reading teacher Betty Rodgers. The reading position will be filled by reorganizing remaining staff schedules.

Swanville School Board Briefs

Other business before the Swanville School Board, included:

• Approving the requested resignation of girls volleyball coach Tammy Gruber;

• Learning that prom regulations require guests that are invited in from different school districts bring proof of identification, contact information and the guest’s principal must sign documentation that the student is full-time and in good standing;

• Approving prom policies and forms;

• Learning that the Jump Rope for Heart event raised $3,726.86, a record-breaking number for the school;

• Approving to provide summer school courses for the ALC;

• Hearing that smart board company Promethean will match up to $3,800 toward the purchase of new boards. The funds to pay for the boards must be provided by a booster club; and

• Learning the Deep Portage trip for grades 4-6 will be from April 23 – 25.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the next scheduled Swanville School Board meeting was moved to Monday, May 12, at 7 p.m. in the high school media center.