Red Wing School Board approves new positionsIn an effort to support the Red Wing School District’s strategic plan, the School Board passed a proposal 6-1 Monday night that will add support positions throughout the district. Board member Paul Kramp opposed the motion.
By: Sarah Gorvin, The Republican Eagle
In an effort to support the Red Wing School District’s strategic plan, the School Board passed a proposal 6-1 Monday night that will add support positions throughout the district. Board member Paul Kramp opposed the motion.
Supt. Karsten Anderson, working with Finance Director Brad Johnson, estimates that the additional staff will cost the district between $180,000 and $300,000 each year.
Due to that price tag, Kramp raised concerns about the district’s ability to support the new positions in years to come.
“I support the plan, but I don’t know if I can vote for this today because I don’t have enough information,” he said. “If this thing is not sustainable, I hate to unwind it, because it is a great plan.”
Chairman Mitch Boldt seemed to share Kramps’ concerns about the proposal’s costs, but was in favor of the risk.
“I agree we’re tiptoeing on the razor’s edge. We have to try our best and we can’t not try because we’re afraid to fail,” he said. “Let’s move ahead with what we need and manage it very closely.”
The district’s strategic plan, which was adopted about a year ago, outlines how the district plans to improve in five areas: curriculum, interventions, professional development, culture and behavior, and teacher and administration effectiveness.
Monday’s proposal calls for new positions to support those areas, including the hiring of two student support coordinators, one at Sunnyside Elementary and one at Burnside Elementary. Those positions would be responsible for things like playground and lunchroom supervision and planning academic interventions, freeing up those duties from principals.
The plan would also fill the gifted and talented coordinator position, which was left open this school year after a late resignation. That position also will support literacy, STEM— science, technology, engineering and math classes — and other curricula district wide.
The plan will allot stipends for special education teachers at Burnside, Twin Bluff and the high school to pick up additional duties to facilitate and monitor special education procedures. In addition, it calls for extra days for elementary secretaries and principals during the summer months.
And while Kramp raised questions about the cost that comes along with Monday’s proposal, other board members were quick to defend it, with many calling it an “investment.”
“Trying to build a better business model is an investment and I think that’s what we’re looking at,” Board member Mike Christensen said.
Board member Steve Anderson called the proposal “overdue,” adding that a plan to help alleviate non-essential duties from already time-strapped principals should have come alongside the passing of the strategic plan.
“We need to have people supporting the job they were hired to do, not be a jack of all trades,” Boldt agreed.
Board member Dennis Porter said the board needs to continue to fully support the strategic plan and a vote in favor of Monday’s proposal would do that.
“If all of a sudden we’re … wavering, I think the message we would send is maybe we’re not as committed as we were a year ago,” he said.
Board member Heidi Jones agreed, adding that the strategic plan has created excitement throughout the district to improve.
“To my mind, yes, there’s cost,” she said. “But if we don’t do this, the greater cost is loss of forward momentum, the loss of excitement.”