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Red Wing School Board briefs

Superintendent contract delayed

Though originally scheduled for board approval on Monday, new Supt. Karsten Anderson's contract will wait until the March 21 meeting for finalization.

The ad hoc personnel committee, formed at the last board meeting, is still working out the details of the contract, Board Chairwoman Heidi Jones said. The delay is not due to any disagreements on either side.

"If it needs more time to do well, we will take it," Jones said. "We know where we're going, but we don't have the language in place yet.

She said they are discussing the large pieces of the contract - salary and health insurance with Anderson. They are also looking at clearly defining smaller pieces such as holidays.

"I'm very encouraged by our new superintendent's willingness to have a dialogue with us," Jones said.

The committee is working off of the current superintendent contract and guidelines from the Minnesota School Board Association.

District to keep Montessori materials

Materials from River Bend Montessori will be kept together and put into storage for a minimum three years when the school closes at the end of the school year, Red Wing School Board decided Monday night.

"It is a curriculum that comes with special training," Chairwoman Heidi Jones said. "We wouldn't want to give it out to other classrooms."

"It has more value kept together rather than split apart," Board member Mike Christensen said.

The board was acting on a recommendation from the River Bend Montessori Advisory Committee. Under that recommendation, all the materials - including curriculum materials and furniture - will be inventoried before going into storage.

"In this way the advisory committee feels strongly that the materials will best be preserved for future use in the district," the committee wrote in a letter to the school board.

The Jones Family Foundation purchased the materials specifically for River Bend Montessori. The School Board decided in December to close the school due to space and funding issues. The details of where the materials will be stored are yet to be worked out.

Transportation changes discussed

Red Wing School District has asked First Student Transportation Services - the district's current transportation provider - for a reduced rate for bus service. This would come in exchange for agreeing not to bid out to other transportation providers for the next two years. Negotiations are ongoing with the company, but "they seem very open to this," Supt. Stan Slessor said in an email to board members.

"We're hoping for a reduced rate and (to) save some money next year," Slessor said.

The district also has asked the company to explore ways to transport students that would allow the middle and elementary schools to start at around the same time. Currently, the district has a two-tier transportation route, meaning that buses pick up middle school students first and drop them off before picking up elementary school students. This means the middle school starts about an hour before the elementary schools.

Slessor said moving the start times closer together might raise the cost of transportation, but the district has wanted to move up the elementary start time for some time. "We've asked them to be very creative and look into that," Slessor said.

In other news

• The School Board approved the following personnel change: Resignation: Libby Melsness, assistant at Colvill Family Center, effective March 7.

• Meeting watch: Monday's School Board meeting lasted 50 minutes before the board went into closed session to discuss potential litigation. All board members were present.

- compiled by Sarah Gorvin, staff writer