Weather Forecast


10 teaching positions cut: Perham-Dent School Board approves termination of teaching contracts

At least 10 teaching contracts were terminated for next year at the March 13 Perham-Dent School Board meeting.

The board unanimously approved the termination and nonrenewal of the teaching contracts of: Anna Aakre, special education teacher; Danielle Elker, kindergarten teacher; Brenda Heltemes, middle school science and math teacher; Chelsea Marthaler, fourth grade teacher; Jenni Melvin, ALC math teacher; Amanda Michaelson, middle school health and physical education teacher; Rebecca Peter, music teacher; Mallory Stoderl, middle school math teacher; and Darren Harstens, ALC teacher.

Uselman explained that the board cut from the bottom up and the positions cut were probationary, non-tenured positions.

She said in an interview before the board meeting that whether or not the positions will be opened back up isn't known yet. One thing she does know is the teachers that lost their jobs won't necessarily have their jobs back if funding does become available.

"Depending on funding, we may or may not reopen those jobs," she said. "These individuals can re-apply, but they don't have automatic rights to them."

In addition, the board approved the resignations of paraprofessional Terry Schroer, food service worker Hannah Perala and Janet Seifert, Area Learning Center secretary.

Placed on unrequested leave were tenured staff Meagan Ferris, an early childhood instructor, Lindsey Jensen, an early childhood assistant and Jill Walter, technology coach.

The board also unanimously passed a resolution discontinuing the learning readiness program, the E2T2 technology coaching position and a kindergarten section that was added this year to keep class sizes down.

Uselman explained that the monies to fund the items in the resolution were one-time only and couldn't be renewed for next year.

She said the reason the individuals were placed on unrequested leave as opposed to terminating their contracts is they are tenured teachers. They'll also be among the first to be called back if the funding becomes available again.

The district is still awaiting the fate of state-funded education. Uselman said she hopes that districts will be held harmless.

"We're anticipating a less than worst case scenario," she said. "And K through 12 will be held harmless. But it's too early to say that K12 won't have any kind of a hit."

It has been proposed at the Legislature, Uselman said, but there has been lobbying in St. Paul to make cuts across the board, including to education.

Even if districts are held harmless and won't take a cut in funding per student, there's a chance the district will still take a hit, Uselman said.

"Integration aid and compensatory revenue could be reduced," she said. "Which could mean zero cut or right around the million dollar mark. We're being cautious, and trying to watch as things inch forward at the capital."