Meeting 24 standards is crimping high school curriculum schedules

By Lori Ehde

This year's ninth-graders are the first Luverne High School students who will have to meet all 24 of the state's graduation requirements to get their diplomas.

During his report on staffing needs, Luverne High School Principal Gary Fisher told School Board members the new requirements are creating scheduling challenges.

"For some kids, study halls will be a thing of the past," Fisher said.

He said the push to improve high school science and math standards is shifting a disproportionate number of students from other elective courses to the required ones.

"They not only have to prepare for life after high school, but they have to meet standards the state says they have to meet," Fisher said.

"I'm real concerned about our elective areas. I feel like we're getting tunneled in, and not giving them a chance to explore their options."

Fisher said he agrees with the concept of improving math and science skills, but he said the tight schedules force students to choose career paths early on.

He used the example of a student who planned to go to a four-year college, then dabbled in graphic arts and decided instead to go to a two-year college.

"I just think they need to be able to explore their options," Fisher said.

Heating, cooling and ventilation bids

In other business Thursday, the board accepted bids on the upcoming heating, cooling and ventilation project in the high school-middle school.

Bids came in on March 13, and the low bid was submitted by Midwestern Mechanical, Sioux Falls, for $932,400. That amount doesnÕt include $69,500 for work in the cafeteria kitchen.

The work, to be done this summer, will include a new heating, cooling and ventilation system and upgrades to the 50-year-old electrical service.

At the same time, lighting and ceiling panels will be replaced in first-floor corridors.

District bills

The board reviewed bills for the month. According to district financial officer Marlene Mann the bills totaled $917,000 for the month.

Of that total, $632,000 goes for payroll.

Mann said fuel costs remain high. It cost $26,786 to heat the school this month, which is twice what it cost last year at this time.

In related fuel costs, it takes $5,000 to run the buses for one month.

In other business, the board:

oDecided to schedule a meeting with area schools to discuss annual pairing and sharing agreements.

oHired Amanda Fongemie as a part-time management assistant for Discovery Time.

oHired spring coaches. Amber Mollberg will be assistant track coach at $1,787, Todd Oye will coach seventh-grade softball for $951, Wade Hiller will coach seventh-grade baseball for $951, and Joe Roberts will coach eighth-grade baseball for $951.

oApproved a leave of absence for Deb Vogt to chaperone the Luverne choir trip to New York. She will take one personal day and three days unpaid. The leave was approved based on finding a suitable substitute for family science.

oTabled action on a hockey request to discuss family passes.

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