R-P School Board reviews purchase agreement deadline for middle school sale

By : 
SCOTT BESTUL
TRI-COUNTY RECORD

In a rather brief regular board meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Rushford-Peterson School Board reviewed a proposal to extend the purchase agreement deadline for the sale of the middle school building in Peterson. In a written addendum to the agenda, Supt. Ehler informed the board, “Mr. Anderson appreciates the board’s patience as he works through securing finances to finalize the purchase of the middle school site. He is requesting an addendum to the purchase agreement that would allow him to pay a stipend of $100 per day (starting on Nov. 20, 2018 and ending on Dec. 20, 2018) as a means of good faith bargaining to allow him additional time to finalize his financial arrangements.”  

Anderson has plans to turn the middle school in Peterson into a facility that will train aviation mechanics and pilots. The council discussed the extension of the purchase agreement briefly. During this discussion, Supt. Ehler relayed thanks from the district’s legal representative to the board, grateful for their patience in the matter. Though several board members expressed frustration about the drawn-out process, they echoed Ehler’s sentiment that “they had nothing to lose at this point,” and moved to accept the purchase agreement deadline.

World’s Best Work Force summary

Elementary Principal Angela Shepard presented a summary of the combined results of the World’s Best Work Force (WBWF) report and an Annual Achievement and Integration (A&I) progress report. These documents help districts measure achievement of or toward goals set by a District Advisory Committee. For the R-P district, the advisory committee was comprised of the district administrators and staff, as well as a community member, parents of schoolchildren and a school board member. 

The R-P advisory committee set goals for the district that included:

• 80% of pre-school and kindergarten students will be proficient on Fastbridge Early Reading assessment (R-P achieved a 74.4%)

• 90% of third grade students will be proficient on the 2017 MCA reading assessment or Fastbridge reading assessment (R-P achieved 80.4%)

• 70% of 11th grade students will score a composite score of 21 or above on the ACT test (R-P achieved 62.8%)  

While these goals were not met, the report revealed that the performance of R-P students was very high and the goals only narrowly missed. Shepard and High School Principal Jake Timm stressed that the goals were lofty. “They’re really hard to meet, especially in a small school district, where the performance of only a student or two can have a much bigger effect than they would in a larger school,” Shepard noted.

The board discussed the results of the report with the principals. Director Howe asked if the goals for next year would be the same. “Every group of students is different,” said Timm. “And we keep that in mind as we set goals. We keep going back to our strategic plan when we set them; we purposely set them high, so we can strive for even better achievement.”

Supt. Ehler joined the board in thanking Shepard and Timm for presenting the report. “These are very lofty goals and we’re grateful to our team and the community members who gave their input.”

Other business

The board reviewed information regarding the dental insurance plan for district employees. Currently, district employees who elect to receive dental coverage are covered by HealthPartners. But research by the district office has led to a recommendation to switch providers to MetLife. “We’re asking permission to present this information to [employees] by Nov. 26 so we can make this change happen by the end of the year, if they approve it,” Ehler said.

At last month’s meeting the board had approved the purchase of a pickup truck to replace an aging model. Supt. Ehler reported that the district had bought a 2011 Ford Ranger pickup from Spring Valley Chevrolet Buick for $14,300. The snowplow and sander from the district’s old pickup will fit on this new truck.

The R-P district has received two grants that will be used to start up a Robotics Program for students. The monies have been used to purchase a 3-D printer, a drone and an introductory CAD (Computer Assisted Drawing) program that will be used by students in the program. “There’s a lot of excitement among the teachers and students for the start of this program in January,” said Principal Timm. “There will be as many as 20 students participating, and these are kids that don’t normally participate in extracurricular activities, so this is a very good thing.”

Schedule

The next regular meeting of the R-P school board will be Monday, Dec 17. The time has been changed from 5:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. This change was made to allow the board time to meet before the Truth in Taxation meeting that will be held the same evening and is scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m.