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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Four District 833 School Board seats are up for election this fall. Four-years terms include those held by members Tracy Brunnette, Marsha Adou, Denise Kapler and Ellen Ayers. Filing opens Aug. 25 and closes Sept. 8. There is a $2 filing fee and candidates must be 21 years old when they assume office and be a resident of the district for 30 days. Filing can be done at the District Service Center.
The District 833 School Board approved a contract on July 9 with the United Teachers of South Washington County teacher's union to continue to participate in the Alternative Teacher Professional Pay System, also known as "Q-comp," for a third year. The program, with about $3 million in state funds, is an introductory program with a goal of giving teachers raises, not based on years taught, but on merit with teachers training and participation in peer reviews and leadership opportunities. In the past two years, the program has been paid for with state funds.
The difference in two bids to supply "fresh, hot pizza" to District 833 schools would pay for nearly 4,000 chicken patties, Nutrition Services Director Barb Osthus told the District 833 School Board at the July 16 meeting. At the June school board meeting, after the owner of Cassini's Pizza in Cottage Grove questioned the plan to award the bid to another company, the board tabled the decision. On Thursday, board members approved the original recommendation to award the bid to three Domino's Pizza businesses for $5.74 per pizza for a total bid of $72,318.26, $12,095.04 less than Cassini's Piz
The difference in two bids to supply "fresh, hot pizza" to District 833 schools would pay for nearly 4,000 chicken patties, Nutrition Services Director Barb Osthus told the District 833 School Board at the July 16 meeting. At the June school board meeting, after the owner of Cassini's Pizza in Cottage Grove questioned the plan to award the bid to another company, the board tabled the decision. On Thursday, board members approved the original recommendation to award the bid to three Domino's Pizza businesses for $5.74 per pizza for a total bid of $72,318.26, $12,095.04 less than Cassini's P
Nicole Rucker, president of the Valley Shamrocks 4-H Club, and Ellie Voss, treasurer, won't be in 4-H next year because they are headed to the University of Wisconsin at River Falls to study to be veterinarians. But they want 4-H to continue so other kids can benefit as they did. Last September Washington County commissioners cut county funding for 4-H programs.
Gone are the days of teacher contract negotiations when union leaders squared off with District 833 representatives as adversaries. The notion that the interests of teachers and the administration are in opposition is a myth, said Superintendent Mark Porter to teacher union representatives and school board members in a special meeting July 7 to review the contract process. To get the ball rolling, board members Tracy Brunette, Marsha Adou and Leslee Boyd volunteered to be on the negotiating team.
As director of District 833 legal services and human resources, Mark Porter made no secret that he was applying for superintendent jobs in other districts. After being a finalist several times, he finally reached the top in his home district and officially took over the job from retiring Tom Nelson on July 1. "It feels awfully right," he said in an interview July 1.
District 833 School Board Member Jim Gelbmann got himself out of fundraising jail Thursday, June 18. His fictional bail-bond money came from some unexpected sources. Gelbmann, also Minnesota Deputy Secretary of State, has been raising money for the past two months for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The Maplewood-Woodbury chapter asked him to participate in the jail scenario and set his "bail" at $1,600. When he achieved the goal, his bail bondsman upped the ante and said he had to raise more money.
District 833 Superintendent Tom Nelson's last school board meeting is this week as retires after four years. He and his wife, Margaret, plan to return to Prescott, Ariz., where they were living when he took the job in the district after a stormy and failed superintendent search by the school board. After the first search ended, the firm suggested Nelson for the job.
The downside of an economic depression is that School District 833 had to cut the general fund budget and increase class sizes. The up side is that, due to the decline in construction activity, bid prices for construction of East Ridge High School, classroom additions and improvements to Park and Woodbury high schools were considerably lower than expected. When construction is finished, there will be about $5 million left from the 2006 voter-approved bond referendum, according to assistant to the superintendent for operations Mike Vogel. At the June 4 board workshop Vogel suggested the boar