PHS to graduate 161
By Louis Hoglund email@example.com The 161-member Perham High School Class of 2007 will graduate May 27, with ceremonies set for 2 p.m. at the Prairie Wind Middle School gym. Several speakers from the senior class are scheduled, as well as performan...
By Louis Hoglund
The 161-member Perham High School Class of 2007 will graduate May 27, with ceremonies set for 2 p.m. at the Prairie Wind Middle School gym.
Several speakers from the senior class are scheduled, as well as performances by the high school band, choir and orchestra.
Included in the class will be five students from the Alternative Learning Center.
Delivering the welcome address will be Perham Yellowjacket senior Mary Tuffton. Seniors Meghan Cox and Nick DeVillers are both scheduled to speak.
"Memories" will be the focus of a presentation by senior Kyle Christopherson.
Senior and student council president Jessica Spanswick will present the members of the National Honor Society.
Closing message will be delivered by Alyssa Stafki.
School cuts total $429,000
Meanwhile, the Classes of 2008 and beyond could be impacted by $429,000 in cuts, which the Perham-Dent School Board made at a May 23, 6 a.m. meeting.
Several elementary teachers attended the meeting, expressing their concerns with the cuts to para-professional staff.
"Its our own fault that we haven't spoken up prior to now," said elementary teacher Sue Kostynick, regarding the 11th hour appearance before the board. "But we're going to be hurting without more para help."
Kindergarten teacher Cathy Cavanagh, and other staff, expressed concerns that it will be difficult to maintain the innovative "guided reading" programs without teaching assistant support--especially in K-1 grades.
The board and administration has been wrestling with the cuts for several months. Hardest hit is the custodial department, facing nearly $100,000 in staff and supply reductions.
"We have to bring closure to this," said board member Dave Schornack. "We don't have any choice but to accept the cuts, and make adjustments as we go forward."
Fingers were pointed at lawmakers, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty and local Republican legislator Dean Simpson.
"I'm not happy about this," said board member Dan Nodsle. He referred to the legislature's school funding measures, and also to local lawmaker Simpson--though not by name. "We have a (legislator) right here in town...you ought to let him know, too."
Other concerns include potentially overloaded phy ed classes at the elementary school which will resemble "well-organized recess" rather than a teaching-learning situation, said Kostynick.
Other savings in the budget include the elimination of one bus route, which could save nearly $40,000. Several positions will be reduced to part-time, and replacement teachers and staff will be less experienced, and consequently lower salary.
"We need to call Pawlenty," said board member Mike Hamann, because of concerns with inadequate state funding.
"We want to be the best district in the state, but we have to be prudent," added Hamann.
To maintain smaller class sizes, which can translate into more students through open enrollment, board member Arnie Thompson said that an increase in local taxes may be necessary.