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District getting more state aid, rehires teacher

By Staff | Jun 16, 2008

A bill approved in the 2008 legislative session is good financial news for Blue Earth Area School District.

Superintendent Dale Brandsoy says the budget-balancing measure increases the per pupil funding by 1 percent.

The extra funds are a one-time allocation and took educators by surprise.

“It came in the 12th hour. It will mean about $60,000 more for Blue Earth Area Schools. We hadn’t anticipated that, but we appreciate what we can get,” Brandsoy told school board members at their Monday meeting.

With the rising cost of fuel, the additional aid comes at a good time, says the superintendent.

State lawmakers also increased reimbursement for a carton of milk served at breaks under the kindergarten milk program. The 6-cent hike per carton will not affect the amount district’s receive for their lunch program.

Because of kindergarten enrollment numbers, the board voted to rehire teacher Amy Ankeny.

Blue Earth elementary principal Kevin Grant says 66 students are expected for three sections.

“It’s definitely on the high edge for kindergarten. I recommend we try to have those classes as small as possible, whenever possible,” says Grant.

Boardmembers approved adding another section, which will mean class sizes of 16 to 17.

Brandsoy says a first-grade teacher will be shifted to kindergarten and Ankeny will take over a fourth-grade class.

In other business, Dan Brod, the district’s transportation supervisor, updated the board on bids for two buses.

He says with money left over from last year he is recommending officials buy two Bluebird buses costing about $75,000 a piece.

“We’ll be able to buy two buses and have about $58,000 left over in the budget to buy other vehicles over the year,” says Brod.

Boardmembers approved the purchase of the buses.

The district will be buying four automatic defibrillators; one for the high school, two at the Blue Earth K-8 school and one at the Winnebago school.

A committee consisting of activities director Rob Norman and school nurse Sharon Hoyt determined a need for the life-saving equipment.

“We rely on our local emergency service workers, but we need to move in this direction before something happens,” adds Brandsoy.

The defibrillators are expected to cost $5,200. Cargill has donated $500 toward the purchase and United Hospital District Foundation also is expected to make a contribution.