Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
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Concerned about new school start times in School District 833? Don't be - for now. Frustrated by the prospect of charging bus fees for choice academic programs? There's no need to be - yet. Worried about kids walking up to two miles to school?
The South Washington County School District is providing Mark Porter a severance payment, cashed-out vacation and sick time and retirement benefits in a deal that averts a threatened lawsuit from the ousted superintendent. Under terms of his contract and an agreement reached last week, Porter will receive a severance of $36,758 in addition to cashed-out vacation and sick-leave hours and nearly $21,000 in his retirement account. Porter and the District 833 School Board's attorney said in separate interviews the agreement represents an amicable separation.
A Woodbury man could face criminal charges after he allegedly admitted to smoking incense prior to driving a car that careened off a Cottage Grove road, crashed through fencing and burst into flames. The 18-year-old driver suffered minor injuries and could be charged pending the outcome of the crash investigation, police said. The crash happened at 12:05 p.m.
The South Washington County School Board violated state law in its handling of Superintendent Mark Porter's final performance evaluation, according to a state opinion. The nonbinding opinion sought by the South Washington County Bulletin concluded that the District 833 School Board violated the state's Open Meeting Law when it did not publicly summarize its evaluation of Porter at a meeting immediately following the closed-door workshop used to conduct that evaluation.
Washington County prosecutors and school leaders hope tough talk about truancy will send some students back to class. The Washington County Attorney's Office and local school districts are trying to keep kids in the classroom - and out of court - by holding candid conversations with habitual truants and their parents. In its infancy, the new program is focused on the South Washington County School District for the remainder of this school year. The first meeting was held Feb.
An unrelated assault case led to the discovery that a Cottage Grove man allegedly raped a pre-teenage girl over 100 times during her life, according to police and court records. Johnathan R. Beying, 30, was charged in Washington County District Court with four felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The next South Washington County Schools superintendent must be honest, trustworthy and well-schooled in education curriculum. That superintendent also should make it a priority to maintain small class sizes and build trust with the community, while being aware that the greatest challenge facing the district is teachers and the public's lack of trust in the administration and concerns about class sizes. That snapshot of the district and its superintendent needs was captured in a recent survey of district employees, residents and students, and in focus groups convened as the District 833 Scho
Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said the prospect of jail time alone is not enough curb the growth of prescription drug abuse. "I can lock these guys up all day long, but it's a public health issue," Orput said. Orput and fellow east-metro prosecutors are pledging to work together with law enforcement and other service agencies to fight criminal activity. They formed the East Metro Crime Prevention Coalition and plan to improve their communication, share educational resources and crime prevention tactics and coordinate their response to emerging criminal activity.
District 833 School Board members have not followed their own recommended email policy, records show. School Board members last year wanted to follow a policy recommending that they only communicate by email through district-issued accounts, not personal email accounts. But a series of board member emails from last month show that a number of them were shuffling between district, personal and work accounts to conduct school business.