School board talks new gymnastics facility, approves transportation bid
The Perham-Dent School Board approved a transportation bid for the 2019-20 school year at the board meeting on Wednesday, April 10. The four-year agreement with Z Transportation is front-loaded to allow the company to upgrade its bus fleet and at...
The Perham-Dent School Board approved a transportation bid for the 2019-20 school year at the board meeting on Wednesday, April 10. The four-year agreement with Z Transportation is front-loaded to allow the company to upgrade its bus fleet and attract more drivers, it then balances out after one year.
Superintendent Mitch Anderson said the longer agreement is good because the district pays the true cost of fuel.
"A lot of districts, in their agreements have a fuel escalator, where somebody's getting a good deal and somebody is not, so it usually balances out," he said.
Board member Kristi Stoll asked if the company is ever required to provide training for his bus drivers in something other than driving the bus.
Anderson said the contract gives the district the right to require that training, and it's worth pursuing to provide consistency.
Heart of the Lakes Elementary Principal Jen Hendrickson said it would be important to train drivers on how to interact with kids.
"You have people that are hired to drive a bus, and that's one thing and very important to be able to do that," she said. "It's not an easy job at all, to drive a bus filled with wild kids at the end of the day."
The board also continued its discussion of the proposed gymnastics and locker room facility across the street from Heart of the Lakes Elementary. Because the gymnastics team practices in the gym of the old high school, demolition on the hub project can't begin until the gymnastics team is relocated to a new building.
Anderson said the ultimate goal is to have the gymnastics building completed by the fall.
"We can't start knocking walls down in the old building until gymnastics is out," he said. "There is a domino effect, and that's the first move."
Anderson said the gymnastics group is waiting for an actual estimate for the building. Once that estimate is in, steel needs to be ordered immediately because of a 10-12 lead time, therefore the board gave the facilities committee discretion to approve construction, rather than calling a special board meeting.
As far as financing the building, nothing has changed, according to Anderson. The district will use a lease levy to lease to own the building over 15 years.
'A space to create'
Computer teacher Sue Jones demonstrated her makerspace curriculum to the board.
Jones said a makerspace is where the kids are given materials and are learning in a playful spirit.
"Instead of always me, putting my ideas and my curriculum into their heads, they get to be an innovator and a creator, and use their imaginations," she said.
The makerspace kit consists of a series of plastic blocks that, put together in different combinations, turn into cars, or flashlights and other creations. Students also use code to control what they've constructed.
Jones said the kit is a pre-coding exercise.
"Coding isn't just for the next computer scientist," she said. "It's a good way to learn, to organize your thoughts. It's a good way to be a problem solver."
In other school news
• The board also approved a ten cent increase in school meal prices for the 2019-2020 school year.
• During verbal reports, Hendrickson said the Dean of Students position has been filled by fourth grade teacher Mike Kunza.
• Hendrickson also said registration for kindergarten is also up from last year.
• Amy Kimball, ECFE coordinator, presented the school's curriculum and how students are learning to regulate their emotions.