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 -- More than a dozen teaching jobs could be saved for next year if the Willmar School Board adopts the budget reduction list discussed Monday. At the board's work session meeting Monday, Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard presented a list of items to be removed from the $2.5 million worth of cuts initially proposed. The board is now aiming for a budget reduction of $1.7 million from the general fund and using $255,000 from reserve funds to cut a total of about $2 million in expenses from the general fund budget for the 2010-11 school year. A final decision on the budget cuts is expected
PAYNESVILLE -- The women at the Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe in Paynesville and thousands of other entrepreneurs around the country are hoping The 3/50 Project will help customers remember to support their local businesses. Co-owners Mickey and April Zimmer, a mother-daughter team, have done well in their 6-year-old quilting and sewing business, but they've seen other businesses come and go. So has Karlene Gray, owner of Bloom, a flower and coffee shop in Paynesville.
PAYNESVILLE -- The Sweetwater Cotton Shoppe of Paynesville will be one of 10 quilting shops from the United States and Canada featured in the Spring 2010 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine. The magazine is published by Better Homes and Gardens. It is published twice a year and features 10 shops in each issue. Co-owners Mickey and April Zimmer, plan to have a celebration of the magazine issue at their shop on May 15. The mother-daughter team said they were still a little stunned to be included in the magazine. "We're still not sure it's real," Mickey Zimmer said.
WILLMAR -- Ben and Bella will be making their television debut in Willmar next week. Ben, a young bear, and Bella, a friendly hippo, are the stars of a new read-along series, "Ben and Bella Read Along," produced for Willmar Regional Access Channels. The series is the brainchild of WRAC coordinator Rudy Vigil and Jodi Wambeke, Early Childhood Education coordinator for Willmar Community Education and Recreation. They adapted information from the Discover English with Ben and Bella materials from Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica officials have been so pleased with the results that they hav
WILLMAR -- Willmar School Board members said Thursday that they would like to be able to develop a long-term budget plan, but it's very difficult when funding levels change from year to year. Board Chairman Brad Schmidt and board member Dion Warne, a former chairman, spoke about school budgets at the Community Connection series at Kennedy Elementary School. About 30 people from the community attended. The series will feature four more noon-hour presentations about community issues in March, April and May.
SPICER -- Dr. Karen Nelson of Spicer has announced her candidacy as a Republican for the Seventh District seat in the U.S. Congress. The seat is currently held by Democrat Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. Three other Republican candidates are running: Melva Larson of Bagley, Glen Menze of Starbuck and Lee Byberg of Willmar. Nelson is a psychiatrist who served eight years on the New London-Spicer School Board and also served as board chair.
CLARA CITY -- The MACCRAY School Board is considering a $100,000 cut to its budget for the next school year. The board discussed making the cuts at a meeting last week. Voters in the district approved a higher operating levy last fall, and that will provide more revenue for the 2010-11 school year. However, falling enrollment and the possibility of reduced state revenue mean the district could still need to make cuts, Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Friday. "Even with all the new money, we could still fall a bit short," he said. The biggest problem is the loss of enrollment, he said.
WILLMAR -- For one more year, it appears that some of the more popular scheduling options in the Willmar School District are safe. Kindergarteners will have all-day, everyday classes. Middle School students will have flex scheduling for communications/reading and for math.
WILLMAR -- A federal lawsuit against the Willmar School District isn't finished yet. An attorney for a former Willmar student has asked the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to hear arguments about whether the child may sue the district. A three-judge panel said in January that Jackie Nelson, the child's mother, did not have a valid claim against the school district. The jud-ges said that Nelson sh-ould have filed a complaint before she transferred her child to another district.
WILLMAR -- Full-time kindergarten could be staying in Willmar, at least for another year. Members of the Willmar School Board agreed Monday evening to remove all-day, everyday kindergarten from a list of potential cuts for the 2010-11 school year. The kindergarten reduction was the largest on a list of more than $2.5 million reductions presented by school administrators. The goal is to cut about $2 million from the $40 million general fund budget to prepare for the next school year.