Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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A plea by a District 833 school board member could lead to adding more money to next year's budget. District finance director Aaron Bushberger said the law requires the district to set a budget at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, but adjustments can be added later before the levy is certified in September. Board member Jim Gelbmann, at the June 3 workshop meeting, asked board members to support spending an additional $50 per student, or about $800,000, to address student mental health problems. Gelbmann said two Woodbury High School student suicides in the past two months validates th
District 833 will continue using contract buses, at an annual cost of $175,000, to ensure elementary school buses arrive on time, said Gary Dechaine, School District 833 transportation director. The School Board reviewed the district's transportation budget at a workshop June 3. Preliminary routing plans for 2010-2011 show that two contracted buses might be eliminated, but the remaining buses are needed until there is a change in school start times. The problem with late buses started when start times changed last fall and drivers discovered they did not have enough time to complete middle
Three District 833 School Board members say they don't want a vocal minority to decide for the majority of parents who don't mind that Woodbury High School serves deep-fried French fries three days a week. French fryers were removed from Cottage Grove Middle School and Lake Middle School last year, and Woodbury High School was slated to discontinue French fries next year, according to district Nutrition Services Director Barb Osthus, who submitted next year's budget and plans for school lunches to the board at the May 6 workshop meeting. Cafeterias at Park and East Ridge high schools and Woo
You won't see volunteer Michelle Witte out excavating on the site of the new community arts center at East Ridge High School, but in a way she has laid the groundwork for the center as much as any contractor will. Witte, who played an integral role in fundraising for the new center, was honored by the Washington County Board April 20 as Washington County's 2010 Community Volunteer of the Year. "A theater is one place where the whole fabric of a community comes together," said Witte, a Woodbury resident.
District 833 school start times won't change next school year, but they could change the following school year. District officials learned soon after school started last fall that the transportation plan needed change when 30 buses were arriving five to 15 minutes late to elementary schools. When the plan, reviewed by the school board at its April 8 workshop meeting, is implemented in the 2011-2012 school year, there could be changes in bus pickup and drop-off times, with middle school students beginning their day at 7:50 a.m.
The students in Bess Coy's art classes at East Ridge High School might not know that she owns a Kevlar vest, heavy gloves, sound-blocking earphones and enjoys being covered in sawdust. When she is not teaching art, she is a wood carver, at home with a chainsaw and chisels. One of her projects graces her classroom. A carving of a large bear serves as a chair and an American eagle hovers over it. Coy hopes to give it to a library one day, and she envisions librarians sitting on it and reading stories to children. Three years ago, Coy gave herself a present for her 40th birthday.
A $149 million budget for 2010-2011 was approved by the District 833 School Board on March 18 that includes changes discussed by the board on March 4. Instead of decreasing high school and middle school class sizes by an average of one student, which would add 6.5 teachers, 5.6 discretionary positions will be added to allow more flexibility in where teachers will be placed by Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education Randy Zipf. There is also one additional discretionary teacher for secondary and one at the elementary level so an additional class can be added if enrollment is too high.
The District 833 School Board is expected to approve a $7.4 million operating capital budget on March 18 that includes $750,000 for textbooks and $385,000 for computer-operated white boards. The capital budget is dedicated to repair and improvement of district facilities and is funded by state aid, a levy to pay rent on leased facilities and a voter-approved $1 million a year for new technology. For the district printing center, $200,000 will be spent to replace aging equipment. There is also $200,000 in contingency for Newport Elementary School, which will get a new heating and air conditi
Jennifer and James Gasperini have had some unusual guests since December at their Woodbury home on Manning Avenue. The couple is hosting two teams of Siberian husky dogs.
The District 833 School Board shaved about $1.7 million from the district's 2010-2011 budget at its March 4 workshop. The budget will still run a $4.5 million deficit, which will come out of the district's $23 million fund balance. The major cut is a $2.5 million annual payment to the fund that covers retiree expenses.