Willmar School Board to meet Monday, May 8, 2023

A report on Willmar Public Schools' Food and Nutrition Department is on the agenda for the board's meeting at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.

A file photo of the Willmar Public Schools sign at the Willmar Education and Arts Center, where the administration offices are located.
Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo

WILLMAR — The annual report from the school district’s food and nutrition report is on the agenda for the Willmar School Board ’s meeting Monday.

The board meets the second Monday of the month at 4:30 p.m. in the rehearsal hall at the Willmar Education and Arts Center.

The board’s agenda includes the annual report from the Food and Nutrition Department and the district’s Wellness Committee. Beginning with the 2023-24 school year, the state will provide free breakfast and lunch for all students.

The board will also consider an increase in the admissions price to activities and will accept more than $45,000 in donations to the school district. A large share of that is a $28,000 grant for the Child Guide program from the United Way of West Central Minnesota.

The Minnesota Legislature OK'd $6.5 million to transfer Upper Sioux Agency State Park land to the Upper Sioux Community, but no timeline is set for the transfer. The park is still open to the public.
A total of 830 people graduated from Ridgewater College last week, with about 350 people participating in commencements at Willmar and Hutchinson.
Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases are at their lowest this year in Minnesota. An average of three deaths and 120 new cases are still reported each day.
A regional crisis team, in addition to local counselors and social workers, is helping students and staff cope with the death of a 17-year-old Willmar Senior High School student. The crisis team will be in Willmar through the week.
Many area students earned awards at the FFA state convention. Two students were recipients of State Star awards.
The Lunch Buddy Program, a Ridgewater College/Willmar Public Schools program, has paired college students and elementary students for 25 years. Students eat lunch and spend time together once a week.
In the most recent state update, the state reported 1,235 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 27 deaths in a week.
Cases of COVID-19 are declining in Minnesota, but 180 people are confirmed to have the disease every day, and nearly 200 people are in hospitals with it.
Cayle Hovland, a first-year teacher in Willmar, said when she went to college, she learned she had been lucky to grow up in a city where she got to know many different types of people.
Willmar's graduation rates improved from 2019, the last full school year before the pandemic, to 2022, when 265 students graduated.

The board will also consider not renewing the contracts of three non-tenured teachers.


The board sets aside time to listen to comments from the public twice during its meetings.

Comments on agenda items are allowed at the beginning of the meeting. Comments not related to the agenda are accepted at the end of the meeting.

In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: or phone 320-214-4340
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