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NLS prepares for Clark funeral, visitation

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board began the regular meeting Monday with a moment of silence for Army Pfc. Ryane Clark, the 2007 NLS graduate who was killed last week in Afghanistan.

High School Principal Kevin Acquard updated the board on the visitation and funeral for Clark. Both events will be at the high school building. The visitation is from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, with those attending entering the building at the gymnasium, paying their respects in the rotunda area and then leaving out the doors near the district office. The funeral is at 2 p.m. Sunday in the gymnasium.

It may also be possible for students to be released from classes to witness the processional Thursday when Clark's body is returned through New London, Acquard said. The body is expected to be flown to Willmar and then driven through Spicer to New London.

Acquard and Superintendent Paul Carlson also updated the board on the possibility of placing a plaque near the school's flag pole in Clark's honor.

The young soldier died Oct. 4 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. According to the Department of Defense, he died in Shekhabad, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Clark was assigned to the 27th Combat Engineer Battalion (Airborne), 20th Combat Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.

The board on Monday also approved using $158,966 in federal funding to retain education jobs for the 2010-2011 school year. The remainder of the $264,109 is expected to be spent in the 2011-2012 school year. The expenditures in the current year include paying $50,521 for another kindergarten teacher. The board decided in August to add another section of kindergarten, to alleviate a high student-teacher ratio brought on by a larger-than-expected kindergarten class.

In addition, $50,473 of the funding will be used to pay for additional special education and kindergarten paraprofessional time.

Other areas funded by the federal dollars include curriculum development stipends of $10,000, $5,000 for the district's school success programs, which helps at-risk students, $16,630 for reading and math intervention programs, $5,000 for data assessment, $1,766 for after-school enrichment, $4,299 for additional secretarial time spent on student activities funds, ELL/reading assistance via Title I, at a cost of $9,689, and gifted and talented programs at $5,558.

The board also discussed the possibility of making a formal request to discuss a hockey cooperative agreement with Willmar Schools, but decided to have Athletic Director John Vraa set up a meeting with participants in the district's youth hockey programs to gauge support for such a move.

The district is currently participating in the River Lakes hockey cooperative, with schools from Paynesville, Eden Valley-Watkins, BBE, ROCORI and St. John's Prep. This year is the second year of a two-year agreement the schools make to the cooperative.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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