District 728 decides to hire paraprofessionals

By Kurt Nesbitt
Contributing Writer

As the student population increases in Elk River schools, so do student needs.

The Elk River Area School District added three more paraprofessionals Monday night to assist with an increase in students with severe disabilities.

Dr. Jana Hennen-Burr, assistant superintendent of educational services, told the School Board that the 300-student spike in this fall’s enrollment included students with disabilities. Those students’ need required three more paraprofessionals, so the equivalent of three more full-time positions was added to address the need. Staff said the district has the funding for the positions. The School Board approved the request unanimously.

The decision continues the district’s hiring trend, which officials say is caused by more students moving into the Elk River area district or by students who live within its boundaries choosing to stay there. Beginning this summer, officials have added several teaching positions at all levels throughout the district to accommodate the anticipated needs created by the spike.