The Langdon Area School Board held an extensive meeting for the month of April as the school looks to prepare for the end of the current school year and the upcoming year.
By Melissa Anderson
The first item of business following the administrators’ reports was the review of the proposal from Farmers Union Insurance to handle the employee insurance needs. LASD Business Manager Shauna Schneider explained that she was very much in support of the transfer as it would not only be much more efficient and cost effective for the school but also beneficial to the school employees as they could have face-to-face conversations and easier access to the service options available to them. Schneider also explained that after further discussion with Farmers Union Insurance representatives that the flex account utilized with the Sanford insurance plans would also be easier to use for employees. The board agreed that this would be a “no brainer” switch to make and approved it.
An added item to the agenda was the science curriculum, LabLearner, that had been presented to the board at the last meeting. Board member Dawn Kruk informed the board that the Langdon Area School District Foundation had decided to give $25,000 towards the purchase of LabLearner for the elementary school. Langdon Area High School Principal Stephanie Hocchalter also added that a grant had been applied for that could give the school up to $25,000 that could be applied towards the purchase as well but would not know if they had been awarded anything until August of 2019. The board approved the purchase of the LabLearner science curriculum for the elementary school. The purchase will be added to the budget for the 2019-2020 school year if no funds are available this year.
The board reviewed the staffing needs for the 2019-2020 school year. One item for up for consideration was the continued need for a part-time music teacher. Currently, there are two full-time music teachers and one part-time music teacher. The board asked for the opinion of Langdon Area Elementary School Principal Todd Hetler as to if the schedule of the current two full-time instructors could absorb the part-time schedule.
Hetler stated that the two full-time instructors could incorporate the schedule of the part-time instructor. Hetler explained that impact would be a more condensed schedule for the instructor who comes to the elementary school with more focus on group instruction rather than individual music lessons for students. Hetler discussed at length the options available for creating a workable schedule with just the two full-time instructors. The board asked Hetler what the teachers thought to which Hetler explained that they feel the individual time creates a stronger music program and would prefer to keep the part-time instructor. The cost for the part-time teacher would $10,000 to $15,000. The board approved the part-time music teacher for the next school year.
The need for a third kindergarten teacher was also discussed. Current number for the next school year of kindergartners is at 38. That number could go up with late registration. Hetler and LASD Superintendent Daren Christianson both were in support of adding a third kindergarten teacher as numbers of students will not be decreasing in the near future. The addition of another teacher would add approximately $60,000 in expenses for the school. The board approved the hiring of an additional third kindergarten teacher.
Following these discussions, Christianson pointed out that while the school is in good shape at the moment financially, the issue of funding may need to be considered for future decisions as the carry-over for the general fund decreases. The curriculum will need to be reviewed in order to discern cost savings.
In Other Business
• FCCLA advisor Amy Kram requested a travel approval and expenses for the upcoming trip to nationals. Kram has always had this item in her budget as she is a state representative and takes those officers that have qualified for nationals with on the trip. The board approved the requested amount.
• The Social Sciences Club requested a donation for their club to travel to Close-Up which occurs every two years and allows students to tour Washington, D.C. The students are required to raise a significant amount with parents being responsible to pay the difference. The board approved putting the donation request into next year’s budget.
• The three candidates running for election to the open seats on the school board are Cindy Stremick, Steve Olson, and Tyler Feist.