I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.
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WILLMAR—Starting high school with a half credit toward graduation isn't such a bad deal, even it if means going to school a few weeks early. About 30 incoming ninth-graders are spending six days at Willmar Senior High School this month to get ready for their first year of high school. The 9-12 school has about 1,200 students. Their reactions are mixed, as might be expected among 14-year-olds. Some of the kids said they weren't all that happy to be going to school in August, but others said they were having fun.
WILLMAR—The Willmar School Board has voted to end the practice of laying off all non-tenured teachers in the district each spring. The board adopted a revised employee handbook at its Monday meeting that changed the policy. In the future, non-tenured teachers will be laid off for reasons of performance or the district's financial or staffing needs, Superintendent Jeff Holm said at the meeting.
WILLMAR—The next effort in resolving contract talks between the Willmar School Board and its teachers will be looking for discrepancies between the two sides' cost calculations. School officials and negotiators for Education Minnesota-Willmar met for about two hours Wednesday afternoon but ended the meeting without a contract settlement. The two sides have met more than a dozen times and participated in two mediation session without finding a resolution. Teachers have been working under an expired contract since July 1, 2015.
WILLMAR—The Willmar School Board will have at least one new face next year. Board Chairwoman Liz VanDerBill did not file for re-election during the filing period which closed at 5 p.m. Tuesday. In all, six candidates filed for four seats on the board. The three other incumbents whose terms are expiring at the end of the year did file for re-election. Tammy Barnes filed late Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for more information. Justin Bos, an incumbent, is a funeral director at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar.
WILLMAR—The Willmar School Board has awarded the second phase of contracts for a new elementary school. The board awarded 11 contracts for construction of the shell of the building at its meeting Monday. Future contracts will deal with finishes on the building. The new school is the largest part of a district-wide building program, to be funded by a $52.35 million bond approved by the voters in a May 2015 referendum.
WILLMAR—An official weather observer for the National Weather Service recorded 8.2 inches of rainfall in Willmar Wednesday and Thursday. However, measuring rain amounts is not an exact science. It can vary by how a storm passes over and even the type of rain gauge used. Reports of much higher rain amounts have circulated in conversations and in social media since the storms passed through.
WILLMAR—Brian Kath of Willmar is the fourth candidate to file to run for the Willmar School Board. Other candidates so far are Scott Thaden and incumbents Justin Bos and Mike Reynolds. Filing for school board and small city elected office opened Aug. 2 and will remain open until Tuesday. The four-year terms of four Willmar School Board members expire at the end of the year. Other board members with terms expiring are Jackie Saulsbury and Liz VanDerBill.
WILLMAR—A third candidate has filed to run for the Willmar School Board in the Nov. 8 election. Scott Thaden, a former agriculture teacher at Willmar Senior High, filed Wednesday. Incumbents Justin Bos and Mike Reynolds filed last week. Filing for school boards as well as elected offices in small cities opened Aug. 9 and will remain open until Tuesday. The four-year terms of four Willmar School Board members will expire at the end of the year. Other board members whose terms will expire are Jackie Saulsbury and Liz VanDerBill.
WILLMAR—Three area school districts have been awarded state funding to implement voluntary pre-kindergarten programs this fall. Benson, Renville County West and Willmar schools have been chosen to receive part of a $25 million allocation approved by the 2016 Legislature. Gov. Mark Dayton announced the funding Monday. He said it would help provide pre-K classes, free of charge, for 3,302 4-year-olds in 74 school districts.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School Board meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon has been postponed and rescheduled for Aug. 15. Superintendent Jeff Holm said the meeting was postponed because the board...