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ACGC delays decision on administrative restructuring

GROVE CITY -- Options for redesigning administrative positions in the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District have been narrowed down, but the school board members agreed Monday they needed more time before making a final decision.

The board is looking at a plan that would use existing staff to fill a part-time superintendent position.

Sherri Broderius, who is currently the grades 5-12 principal, is being considered to fill the superintendent position. She would also perform some combination of principal duties.

David Oehrlein, the current elementary principal, would take on additional principal responsibilities.

"It's a lot of work we're asking them to do," said Chairwoman Judy Raske, who is confident that Broderius and Oehrlein are up to the task. "They know what they're getting into."

She said, however, the board hasn't ruled out posting the positions internally and could "tweak" the distribution of duties laid out in the preliminary proposals.

The board is considering three options for realigning the duties, with price tags that range from $371,162 to $417,129. The district currently spends $421,066 for a part-time superintendent, two principals, business manager and athletic director/dean of students.

Roger Rueckert, who is the district's second part-time, interim superintendent to work for the district in the last two years, said Monday he would not stay beyond his one-year contract, which expires in June. The district had the option of extending his contract for another year.

In a letter to the board, Ruckert said he was hired on a temporary basis "with the understanding that when the board determined a long-term solution for the superintendent position, my work was done."

Rueckert said submitting his letter now was made "so there will be no distractions during the upcoming decision-making process." He said he's appreciated "the opportunity to serve" ACGC and wished the board well "as you continue your quest to provide for the educational needs of the students."

"You've done a fine job for us," said board member Janelle Johnson.

Board members said they wanted more time to mull over the breakdown of duties to make sure all the students and schools in the district would be taken care of, and to get more public feedback on the proposals. Action will be taken at the March 23 meeting.

In discussing worst-case scenarios for state funding, the board was told that if projections for a 3 percent decrease in state funding come true for the next biennium, the district's new levy money would be used just to fill budget gaps, leaving little or no money for additional programs.

That comment was made on estimates and "guesses" about what the Legislature will do. Rueckert said the federal stimulus funding could help maintain the education formula without reductions, but he didn't want to count on it until the Legislature is done with its work.

The district is making plans to use new levy revenue to upgrade curriculum.

In other action Monday:

- The board gave a preliminary go-ahead to the Southwest/West Central Minnesota Service Cooperative to house an alternative education program at ACGC South in Cosmos. The co-op would rent four classrooms that would be used for students who have severe disabilities.

- Matt Bergmann, the district's athletic director and dean of students, submitted his letter of resignation for those positions.

- The board agreed to call off classes March 5 and 6 to allow students to attend the state wrestling meet.

- Broderius informed the board that the high school will be offering more classes on an alternate year schedule, which will provide additional educational choices for students without adding staff.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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