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Board to hire Dean of Students; assigning Elementary Principal position to Superintendent

With previous elementary principal Greg Esala making the decision to return to the classroom, the New York Mills School Board held a workshop Monday and decided to fill the open administrative position with a Dean of Students.

Tim Kupfer, board president, said the board members and administrators had a great discussion in looking at the various options and in the end decided on a Dean of Students to handle duties in both the high school and elementary ends.

The position will likely be a combination of Dean of Students/Activities Director, with the possibility of other duties like testing coordinator added.

The board also decided to assign the elementary principal job to Superintendent Todd Cameron. Details of secretarial duties in the offices will be worked out once a dean is hired, Kupfer said.

The dean will be located in the elementary office as a third administrator, and will focus on day to day activities in the elementary school, according to Cameron. The day to day duties include things like scheduling field trips, conferences, and disciplinary actions. The dean will also handle disciplinary duties in the high school, freeing up more time for high school principal Blaine Novak to dedicate to staff development and curriculum.

For Cameron, taking on the elementary principal position means he will handle the observation and evaluation of elementary teachers, as well as recommendation of staffing, programs and services.

Kupfer and Cameron agree the decision to hire a dean and reassigning some administration provides as an opportunity for the district to save money.

Depending on who the district hires and what kind of experience they bring, Cameron estimates the district will save between $15,000 and $20,000.

The Dean of Students position will be advertised until filled. Kupfer said they would like to hire someone in three to four weeks.

Monday's workshop lasted about two hours, according to Kupfer, and generated good ideas. Kupfer said he went into the meeting with the idea of hiring an elementary principal but as they discussed the issue and ideas generated, the board left all agreeing the Dean of Students is the best option for the district.

More board business

The New York Mills School Board approved the final revision of the 2008-09 budget during its June 22 meeting. The board approved the budget which includes total revenues of $7,324,945 and total expenses of $7,820,858.

The board also approved the 2009-10 interim budget which shows $7,171,431 in total budget revenues and $7,032,310 in total budget expenditures. The general fund presented in the interim budget is $5,966,048. General fund revenue is tied directly to enrollment.

Enrollment data released at the meeting shows a first day enrollment in Fiscal Year 2009 of 731, down from 758 in FY 2008. The last day of school enrollment FY 2009 was 718, down 30 from 748 in FY 2008.

The school Reading Assistance Program in New York Mills with the financial support of Harley Karvonen.

The school board at its June 22 meeting voted to transfer ownership of a $50,000 donation from the Harley Karvonen trust to the district. The interest on the trust has funded the elementary summer reading assistance program for a number of years.

The board approved contracts with Vocational Rehabilitation Co-op, Lakes Country Service Co-op, and Lakeland Mental Health Center for a school-based mental health/chemical health practitioner.

The board also approved the reassignment of elementary principal Greg Esala to elementary teacher on the district seniority list effective June 30, 2009. Appointments include Kay Tougas, half-time payroll/bookkeeper effective July 1; Chris Collins, speech language; Richard Wegscheid, elementary teacher. Resignations include Carol Wilkowski.