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BEA on lookout for high school Spanish teacher

By Staff | Dec 20, 2015

Hablas espaol?

If you do, the Blue Earth Area School District wants to talk to you.

At the BEA School Board meeting last Monday night, high school principal Rich Schneider had some bad news for the board.

The school needs a Spanish teacher and he cannot find one. Anywhere.

“We have had no applications for our open position,” Schneider said. “None at all. No one is available, it seems.”

The current Spanish teacher, Natalie Huntley, has resigned in order to join the Peace Corps. Her last day is Jan. 9.

Schneider told the board he has made numerous contacts to try and find someone to fill the position, but has had no luck.

“Other districts are looking also, and having the same result no luck for them either,” BEA Superintendent Evan Gough said. “The Marshall District is looking and has not had an applicant either. Southwest Minnesota State University at Marshall has not had a graduate in teaching Spanish in the past two years.”

The solution to the problem, Schneider says, is to offer students an interactive online Spanish course.

Currently there are 29 students taking Spanish I and 56 in Spanish II.

Schneider says the online class is called EdOptions Academy through a provider called Edmentum. It comes at a cost of $295 per student.

“The total cost would be about $20,000 out of our pockets,” Schneider says. “Of course, we would be spending more than that for a teacher.”

The principal has talked to other schools that use the service for offering some classes and they report good results.

However, Schneider adds, none of them are using it for teaching a foreign language.

“Using it for a foreign language is probably not ideal,” he says. “It could be difficult to take this type of class online, so we will see how it works out.”

But, he also adds, the district does not seem to have many other options at this point in time.

“We will see if we can fill this position before the next school year,” he says.

In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the School Board:

Voted to accept the lower bid for a new boiler unit at the Southern Plains Educational Co-op (SPEC) building (the former Winnebago Elementary site).

The low bid was for $74,560 from Paape’s. The other bid, from L&M Boilers, was for $93,870.

“We have known for some time that the boiler would need to be replaced and now it needs to be done,” Gough told the board. “The SPEC board also was aware the boiler needed to be replaced when the signed the lease to the building.”

Gough explained that the BEA District will pay for the boiler at first, but will be reimbursed by SPEC. However, since BEA is one of the districts involved in the education co-op, they will help pay the bill in the end, too.

Voted to accept the auditor’s report for last school year, which was presented at a special work session the week before.

Held the annual Truth in Taxation Hearing as part of the meeting.

The board voted to set the levy at $2,167,981.26, for next year, which is an increase of 15.44 percent from the current year’s levy.

No members of the public were in attendance at the hearing.

Approved several personnel changes.

The board approved hiring Bailey Gummer as a full time kindergarten teacher and Marcia Daly as a cook’s helper.

Approved the resignation of Janessa Maudal as high school language arts teacher.

Added some coaching staff including: Ty Sturtz, middle school wrestling; Garrett Anderson, boys basketball volunteer; Magali Esteva, gymnastics volunteer.