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 — The Willmar School Board and its teachers have scheduled a contract negotiations session for Dec. 20. It will be the first meeting since September between the two sides. During a board workshop Monday, the school district provided budget information and the board's rationale for trying to keep raises for Education Minnesota-Willmar members on par with the district's other bargaining units.
WILLMAR — Fardowsa Ibrahim of Willmar is on the verge of realizing a dream. Ibrahim and her husband, Abdullahi Afrah, along with friends Arfon Osman and Ayan Muktar, are planning to open a teen center in downtown Willmar, called the Iftiin Youth Program. They have done the legal work of forming a nonprofit corporation to accept deductible donations and have rented a space at 330 Fourth Street Southwest, she said.
WILLMAR — Newly elected members of the Willmar School Board say they are hopeful that a teacher contract can be settled before they take office in January, and they are looking forward to being involved in the opening of a new school later this year. Justin Bos, Mike Reynolds, Scott Thaden and Tammy Barnes were elected to four-year terms from a field of six candidates on Nov. 8. Bos and Reynolds are incumbents. Thaden and Barnes, both former teachers, will be newcomers to the School Board.
WILLMAR — After months of site preparation and utility work, walls are going up at the new Willmar elementary school. A name for the school will be needed soon. The new science classroom additions at Willmar Middle School are nearly finished. There's sod on the ground outside, and workers are installing terrazzo flooring inside. Site preparation started recently on a gymnasium and physical education addition at Willmar Senior High School.
WILLMAR — The Minnesota Department of Transportation has issued a no travel advisory for parts of west central and southwest Minnesota, where visibility has been reduced to zero. The no...
WILLMAR — Attendance boundaries are set for fall 2017, when Willmar Public Schools will open its third elementary school. The School Board adopted the new boundaries at its Monday meeting. The boundaries were drawn with attention to making the three schools similar in demographics, family income levels and academic levels. Construction is under way at the new elementary school. When it opens, it will relieve crowding at Kennedy and Roosevelt elementary schools. The new school is on track to open for the 2017-18 school year.
WILLMAR — The Willmar School Board plans to provide an update at a meeting Nov. 28 on the status of contract negotiations with the district's teachers. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the school district said its negotiating team had contacted Education Minnesota-Willmar to set up further negotiations sessions but had received no response from the union.
WILLMAR — More than 70 Willmar teachers and their supporters rallied Monday afternoon outside the Willmar Education and Arts Center seeking a "fair and equitable" union contract after 20 months of negotiations. After the rally, many of them went inside WEAC to attend the regular Willmar School Board meeting. Several spoke during the meeting. Rally speakers urged the teachers to stay strong as they work toward a settlement of a new contract. The previous contract expired June 30, 2015.
WILLMAR — When Grace Place of Willmar holds its annual fundraiser Tuesday, the handiwork of students from Prairie Lakes Youth Programs will be front and center. Students in the non-secure education program at Prairie Lakes spent the past three weeks making holiday wreaths for the Shopping With a Purpose fundraiser and silent auction. The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Willmar Conference Center.
WILLMAR — A snafu with absentee ballots caused a significant delay in releasing election results in Kandiyohi County after Tuesday's election. Full results from the county were not posted to the state's election results website until about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. A busy voting year brought out 92.6 percent of the county's voters, including 3,850 who voted absentee.