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 — Area school districts work with families who are having trouble paying for their children’s school meals. Several school districts were listed in a survey released this week as having policies of withholding or taking away food from low-income students. The issue rose to national prominence recently when a Utah school was reported to have taken food trays from students in front of their peers. Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid released a survey of Minnesota school districts this week that listed nearly 50 districts that will deny food to children eligible for reduced-price meals.
WILLMAR — The Lac qui Parle School District is listed in a report released this week as a district that would withhold a meal from a low-income student whose lunch account is empty, but that just doesn’t happen, according to Superintendent Renae Tostenson. Lac qui Parle Valley was one of three area districts listed in a report from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, which surveyed all but 21 school districts in the state. The others are Montevideo and BOLD.
WILLMAR — Students at Willmar Public Schools will have longer school days starting Monday. The Willmar School Board voted Monday to add 10 minutes to the elementary sc-hool day and 15 minutes to the day for middle school and high school students. The longer days will help the district replace the instruction hours lost to snow days in January. Schools were closed Jan. 6, 7, 16, 23, 27 and 30 because of dangerous wind chills, ice and blowing snow.
WILLMAR — Preparations are under way to open a new charter school offering project-based learning this fall in Willmar. Technical Academies of Minnesota is awaiting state approval to start a school for grades 7-12 in a building at the MinnWest Technology Campus. It would be a public school, but it will not be affiliated with area public school districts. Parents and students can learn more about the school at informational meetings Monday and on Feb. 22. The meetings will be at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday in the Life Center Building on the Technology Campus at 1800 18th Street N.E. in Willmar.
WILLMAR — Minnesota’s business community is working hard to persuade state lawmakers to repeal three business-to-business taxes early in the 2014 legislative session. When the session begins Feb.
WILLMAR — Kennedy Elementary School in Willmar still faces many challenges, but a recent state review also includes a list of the school’s strengths. Director of Teaching and Learning Cheryl Nash spoke to the Willmar School Board about the review at its Monday meeting. The state review is the result of Kennedy’s eligibility for a federal School Improvement Grant.
WILLMAR — Voters in the Willmar School District will probably be asked to decide later this year whether to build a new school and make needed improvements in other buildings. The Willmar School Board discussed options at a workshop meeting Monday but no decisions have been made. Some board members seemed to favor building a new middle school for the district but wanted more information before deciding how to proceed. The board will likely meet later this month to hear more about how different building proposals would affect instructional, financial and staffing needs.
WILLMAR — Catelyn Berg is already interested in the Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities business class next year. “It sounds like it would be fun, especially since I want to own a business when I get older,” said Catelyn, 16. The CEO program will be a joint effort of area businesses and the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, New London-Spicer and Willmar school districts. About two dozen students attended an informational session after school this week at Willmar Senior High.
WILLMAR — Willmar’s schools were closed Thursday, the sixth time this month that weather has closed schools for the district’s 4,100 students. Closing school was not something Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard wanted to do, but snow and wind made driving conditions treacherous Thursday morning, he said. The district always sets its calendar with the understanding that school will be held on some planned days off to make up for snow days. Secondary students already attended school on Martin Luther King Day, which had been designated for teaching staff development.
CHOKIO, Minn. — During his 30 years at the Minnesota Capitol, former state Sen. Charlie Berg was known as a maverick and one of the more colorful, outspoken members of the Legislature. Berg, of Chokio, died Jan. 22 at the age of 86. The Pedersen Funeral Home in Morris is in charge of arrangements. No services have yet been announced. Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, lobbied for conservation officers while Berg was in office.