July 7, 2010

Lewis and Clark board looks at 5-year plan

Lewis and Clark board looks at 5-year plan

By MARVIN BAKER
EDITOR
Lewis and Clark School Board members didn’t say a whole lot last Wednesday night. That’s because Supt. Brian Nelson did most of the talking.
Nelson presented the board with documents and commentary on the district’s three and five-year planning. In it, he began by saying that the Lewis and Clark district has met the adequate yearly progress once again, a fact that more schools are not meeting because of stringent federal standards.
Sometimes called No Child Left Behind, the controversial federal mandate is just that and administrators in North Dakota have often said small, rural schools are quite different than urban public schools and shouldn’t be held to the same account. Still, it is a mandate that must be met annually.
“We met AYP last year and this year,” Nelson said. “All schools have met AYP.”
Nelson also discussed projected enrollment and to nobody’s surprise, the district is expecting a drop of about 30 students when the new school year starts in late August.
“The thing to note here is we’re going to be down 30 kids and that’s huge,” Nelson said. “We’re projecting 360 (K-12) for next year. The board and principals are given these numbers throughout the year to plan extra curricular activities.”
Nelson said open enrollment is a reason for the decline, but being in rural North Dakota could also be a factor as many rural schools lose students year to year. Nelson added that he would be hard pressed to find a school in the state that is actually gaining enrollment. In fact, he said Grand Forks Red River is also looking at a large decline in student population.
“How we deal with that is staff retirment, cuts in administration, busing and reducing copier costs,” Nelson told the board. “Keep in mind we’re really close to seven years ago.”
 


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