Despite increased enrollment, the St. Michael-Albertville School Board opted to keep the same fee for the full day kindergarten program.
The board also approved annual appointments, approved a proposal for fee-based music lessons, and authorized a two-year contract for support staff.
Albertville Primary School Principal Ann-Marie Foucault was present with an update about the Express (full day) kindergarten program.
She said the program has been fee-based since 2004-05, and that enrollment increased by 50 students since that time. Foucault compared STMA’s rates to surrounding school districts, noting that except for Elk River, all the districts offer a fee-based full day kindergarten option. Of the 10 districts compared, she said STMA has the seventh highest tuition.
STMA is the only district that does not offer scholarships for partial or full tuition, and Foucault said the tuition rates have increased 3.7 percent during the past five years.
Foucault and Supt. Jim Behle recommended keeping the Express tuition the same for next school year, at $2,700.
Board members Jeanne Holland, Drew Scherber, Gayle Weber, Carol Steffens, Doug Birk and Jeff Lindquist asked Behle and Foucault to review options to provide scholarships for students in need. The board then approved the $2,700 fee for next school year.
In other news, the board conducted the annual appointments. Board member Birk was reappointed as chairperson, with Weber reappointed as vice-chairperson, Steffens as clerk, and Scherber as treasurer.
Parent Advisory Committee school board representatives include: Weber at Albertville Primary School, Steffens at Bit Woods Elementary School, Holland at Fieldstone Elementary School, Scherber at St. Michael Elementary School, Lindquist at Middle School East, and Birk at Middle School West and the high school.
Other appointments included naming Crow River News as legal newspaper.
Board compensation is set at $3,400 per year per member, with $600 additional for the chairperson, $200 additional for the treasurer, $600 additional for the clerk, $100 additional for the superintendent contract, and $400 additional for the principals, certified staff, support staff and custodian negotiation committees.
In further matters, teachers Joe Oswoski and Adam Sroka presented a proposal for providing music lessons for a fee to students during the large group band and chorus classes.
They said other school districts are using this plan, and that Community Education would act as the fiscal agent. Lessons would be taught be professional performers and music professors.
Osowski and Sroka said the opportunity would allow students to improve their overall performance, exposure to a new level of music, and allow students involved in multiple after-school activities to continue their musical growth.
The board approved the high school independent applies study proposal.
In other action, the board:
APPROVED the support staff contract for 2012-14. Total package increase was 6.09 percent for two years.
HEARD an update about the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school calendars. Supt. Behle said a new process was used this year to include a calendar committee comprised of administrators and teachers, to prepare calendars for the next two school years. Behle said he is in the process of collecting feedback from staff and parents and would present the final calendar recommendation to the board Jan. 22.