May 28, 2009

State funds to fuel school improvements

State funds to fuel school improvements
By JILL DENNING GACKLE
“A tremendous opportunity.”
That’s what the North Dakota Legislature provided for the state’s schools, according to Superintendent Steve Brannan.
Brannan said new state funding is providing money in the Garrison School District for curriculum improvements, help for students’ remedial needs and $300,000 for facilities and technology, as well as money to pay teachers more.
“We’re not just going to spend the money because we have it but because there is a need,” he said.
The building improvements will include lighting and sound projects at the high school gym, a new fire alarm system, sidewalk improvements, roof repairs and a new handicap lift at the elementary and improvements to the high school lift. A budget meeting was set for June to discuss the improvements.
“This is going to greatly impact our students; this is really an exciting time,” he said.
The next meeting to discuss how to spend the funds will be June 16.
In other business, the board:
Approved the spending of about $40,000 from the district’s budget on technology. There will most likely be another $54,862 to be spent on technology from federal stimulus funds. There will be more Active Boards, new computers and carts for laptops to be moved between elementary classrooms. The district spent $40,000 last year. Brannan said he hoped the district could add an additional part-time staff member in the elementary school to help with technology.
Board member Steve Seidler cautioned Brannan about spending and about throwing out old equipment. Brannan assured him the district is frugal. He encouraged the board to ask questions and visit with staff to get their questions and the public’s questions answered.
Learned that Daryl Engel is willing to stay on as an appointed board member until the next election. Julie Retterath was elected in the spring but declined the position. Write-in candidates were asked if they were interested in the position; Engel, who first joined the board in 2001, received four write-in votes in April. Engel said it’s disappointing there isn’t more interest from the public in becoming a school board member. He concluded: “Like me or not, I’m back.”
 


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