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School foundation awards grant for book giveaway at Willmar Stingers game

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Public Schools Foundation Board has approved a request to fund books for elementary students, but turned down a request for swimsuits and flotation devices for middle school students learning to swim.The board met Monday to...

WILLMAR - The Willmar Public Schools Foundation Board has approved a request to fund books for elementary students, but turned down a request for swimsuits and flotation devices for middle school students learning to swim.
The board met Monday to discuss requests and to review its bylaws. The group has been working to rewrite its bylaws, which had not been changed for some time.
The foundation helps pay activity fees for low-income students, provides funding to help pay for field trips and classroom items and has been involved in purchasing new technology for the district.
Board members voted to grant $500 to the district’s early childhood programs for books. The books will be given to children who participate in the Books-n-Baseball event, in which Willmar Stingers baseball players read to children on the field before a ballgame. Each child receives a book to take home.
Board members turned down the request for swimsuits, saying they felt the request was worthwhile but thought funding should be found in the regular school budget.
The request came from the Middle School staff member Jenyne Beehler. In her request, she said the swimsuits and other equipment are needed for students who are new to the country. At first, many girls did not swim in physical education classes because of cultural differences. “However, as parents have become informed that students could dress more covered up in the pool, a large number of students now swim,” Beehler wrote.
Many of the students have never been in the water before, and need to start out with flippers and life jackets, she wrote. The school district provides swimsuits for all students who don’t have them and needs more of the modest swimsuits and more flotation equipment for the beginners.
Regarding bylaws, board members discussed setting the future size of the board at nine to 11 members and setting term limits at three, three-year terms in the future.
The rewritten bylaws are part of an effort by the board to move into a larger role in the community.
Board members hope to plan a major fundraising drive to expand the assistance the foundation is able to provide the school district.
Officers for the 2016-17 school year were chosen: Tyler Gehrking, chairman; Steve Johnson, vice chairman; Randy Klein, treasurer; and Bobbi Mattison, secretary.
The board agreed to be a conduit for funds from the Music Matters group as it switches its account from the Southwest Initiative Foundation to the Willmar Area Community Foundation. The board said it would hold the funds until July 1 for a $200 fee.

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: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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