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Willmar School District officials give their approval to elementary transfer policy

WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board has approved a set of new policies governing the district's new elementary attendance areas.

The policies include a process for asking to transfer from one school to another. The School Board adopted the new policies at a Monday meeting.

The district closed several of its smaller buildings this spring and reorganized to have two large K-5 elementary schools next year.

Last month, the board approved boundaries that split the district in half roughly along Highway 71/23 from the northern border down First Street and then west along Willmar Avenue.

Families living north and east of that line will send their children to Kennedy Elementary. Those living south and west will attend Roosevelt Elementary. The attendance boundaries were drawn to balance demographics between the two schools.

To save money on transportation, the district does not plan to transport children from one attendance area into the other.

Some parents and day care providers have objected to that plan.

If a day care provider is in the other attendance area, children will not be bused to it after school.

"There is a process to apply if you wish to attend another building," Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard said at the meeting. However, not all applications will be approved, he added.

If students transfer to another elementary school, their families will be responsible for transportation to and from school.

The policy spells out reasons for maintaining the attendance boundaries where possible. Advantages of honoring the boundaries include helping the district make long-range enrollment projections and helping maintain continuity for students. Maintaining the balance between the attendance areas is also good for the district's academic and activity offerings, according to the policies.

The policy allows for transfers only if space is available at the other school. Transfers will be denied if they cause the district to exceed projections of 22 students per class in grades K-2 and 25 students per class in grades 3-5.

The transfer will be approved only for certain reasons -- to accommodate child care arrangements, for health and safety, to ensure continuity of education or by administrative recommendation.

Transfers may be revoked because of attendance or discipline problems, according to the policy.

In other business, the board:

- Approved a list of 38 non-certified personnel reductions, including secretaries, food service workers, paraprofessionals and teacher assistants. The resolution eliminating all or part of those employees' jobs is the last step in the district's $2.7 million package of budget cuts adopted this spring.

- Approved a $3,242 contract with Roof Spec Inc. of St. Paul to inspect work done on the roof of the classroom addition being built at Roosevelt Elementary this year.

- Awarded a contract with Kemps to provide milk and other dairy products for the coming school year. The estimated amount of the nine-month contract is $171,857.97.

- Approved new music and art curriculum standards for grades K-12.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

(320) 214-4340