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 -- With the $920,000 it gets in one-time help from the federal government, Willmar's schools will be providing assistance for struggling kids and reducing class sizes. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard gave the School Board a rundown Monday of his plans for the money. Also at the meeting, the board approved a three-year contract extension for Kjergaard. He has just started the third year of his first contract with the district. The contract extension for Kjergaard will begin in fall 2011 and cover the 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Board member Mike Reynolds said the boar
WILLMAR -- A preliminary property tax for the Willmar School District projects an increase of about 1.3 percent for 2011. The Willmar School Board approved a preliminary levy of $6.9 million Monday for its portion of the overall tax bill for property owners in Kandiyohi County. The levy is the maximum the state allows and an $87,000 increase over this year's school property taxes. A public hearing on the levy will be held Dec. 13. The board will also adopt the final levy in December. Business and Finance Director Pam Harrington described the four-part levy for the board.
WILLMAR -- Willmar School Board members have joined the world of YouTube to talk about the district's upcoming operating levy referendum. Videos from four board members -- Sandi Unger, Brad Schmidt, Dion Warne and Mike Reynolds -- were posted this week. Videos from other board members will be posted later. In each one, a board member looks into the camera to explain why he or she supports the operating levy. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard suggested the videos last month.
WILLMAR -- A new bus parking and drop-off area north of Roosevelt Elementary School was a success on the first day of school. Not so successful was the expanded car drop-off area in front of the elementary school, according to Roosevelt Dean of Students Nathan Cox. The new bus lot with its own driveway behind the school was intended to help ease congestion at the car drop-off area in front of the school and improve safety for students getting off buses. "It was a very safe drop-off," Cox said Tuesday afternoon. "Mother Nature, with the wind, didn't help us much this morning," he added. Co
Bonnie Davis shocked herself when, after a couple decades of teaching, she looked at two male students who were late to her ad-vanced literature class and immediately made assumptions about them in her mind. That Asian boy had probably stayed late at his calculus class to talk to the teacher, she thought, but when she looked at the black boy, spo-rts came to mind. It made her think, "What am I capable of doing that I may not know I'm doing?" Davis, author of the book "How to teach Students Who Don't Look Like You," spoke to the Willmar School District staff last week.
WILLMAR -- The Willmar business community took the first step Thursday toward deciding whether to endorse the Willmar School District operating levy. Superintendent Jerry Kjergaard spoke to members of the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon at The Oaks in Willmar. Kjergaard explained why the district will ask the voters to rescind an existing levy and adopt a new one that is $400 larger, raising property taxes on homes and businesses about $10 a month for each $100,000 in value. The new levy would add $1.77 million in revenue to the district's annual budget of about $4
Class sizes may not go up as much as they might have in some area school districts, and some laid-off teachers might be back this fall, at least for this year. Kids who need it may get more help in math or reading. All those things could be possible because of a one-time infusion of federal money to save education jobs. The Minnesota Department of Education applied this week for $167 million in funding from the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund approved by Congress in early August. The fund, called Ed Jobs, is intended to save the jobs of teachers and other school staff who work with early c
WILLMAR -- The Willmar School District has won the latest round in a long effort to recover the cost of repairing shoddy work done on the roof drainage system at Willmar Senior High School. The Minnesota Court of Appeals said in an opinion filed Tuesday that Kandiyohi County District Court Judge Michael Thompson was in error when he ruled in 2008 that the school district could not go to arbitration on a claim against the roof warranty because a statute of limitations had expired. A group of contractors had filed suit in 2007 seeking to stop arbitration proceedings on the roof problems.
WILLMAR -- Students at Willmar Senior High have scored their highest composite ACT score since the school opened 16 years ago. The 159 students who took the test had a composite score of 22.5 on the college entrance exam.
WILLMAR -- When school starts on Sept. 7, Willmar students will be riding big yellow buses that have gone "green" under the hood. Fifteen of Willmar Bus Service's diesel school buses were retrofitted with filters and catalyst mufflers that will reduce their emissions by 50 percent. "We felt it was the right thing to do," said owner Ken Inselmann.