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District to receive $400,000 in federal stimulus funds

By Staff | Apr 16, 2009

The Rugby School District is in line to receive about $400,000 as part of the recently-passed federal stimulus funding.

At the April 14 Rugby school board meeting, Jeff Lind, school superintendent, informed the board of the anticipated funds which can be used for building improvements.

The district has hired a Minot engineering firm to tour the schools and make recommendations for potential facility improvements, so the timing of the additional funds is good, Lind said. The district will have until 2011 to use them.

Speaking of improvements, Lind has proposed a couple of building-related projects to be completed this year. One is replacing the high school lockers. It’s a project that has been discussed for several years. Lind said the high school lockers are original to the building – 52 years old – and the cost of replacement his approximately $60,000. Another project is additional security cameras to be installed at the Jr-Sr. High as well as Ely Elementary. Cameras were installed last year and were paid for in part through Homeland Security dollars from the LEPC. However, administrators noted there are a few more places they would like to have them installed. The estimated cost of the extra cameras and software is $15,000, Lind said.

Another proposal is replacing the current 1996 Chrysler Sirius, which the district owns. Lind recommended trading it for a program car, likely a mini-van. The vehicle would be used for driver’s education training as well as a transport vehicle for school-related activities and meetings.

Lind said the district will underspend its budget in a few areas, including fuel, due to a drop in prices. It’s estimated the district will have about $28,000 remaining from that fuel fund.

Board member Chuck Volk asked if these proposed projects could qualify under the federal stimulus requirements. Lind said it’s likely, but he would need to do some checking.

Staffing notes

The district will be offering contracts to fill two Title One positions in the district, said Jeff Lind, superintendent. One is to replace Dennis Muffenbier’s position. Muffenbier, who works at Ely Elementary, is retiring at the end of this term. The other position will be added, pending sufficient allocation in federal Title funding.

Seven applications have been received for the district’s plant operations manger/head custodian position. The district will narrow the applicants and conduct interviews soon. Another afternoon custodian position will also need to be filled.

NCEC likely streamlining services

The Rugby district is one of several that are part of the North Central Education Consortium – an education organization with other area districts to enhance education and professional development services. However, there are concerns that additional services and fewer students and less district participation will mean additional funding obligations for those remaining participants. Lind said the NCEC, which is the smallest of all the current education consortiums in the state, is looking to streamline its services. It will focus only on curriculum and professional development. As a result, it will cut some costs and enable districts to participate at a significantly lower annual fee. Rugby’s district is currently paying $10,000 annually to belong. That rate could be reduced to as low as $500.

In other action, the board:

-Approved changes to the student policy manual next year, including adjusting the ineligibility rules to participate in co-curricular activities. The change states a student who has an “F” grade in a course for three consecutive weeks will be ruled ineligible for activities until the grade is brought up. Right now, students can compete as long as they don’t have two failing grades. The other change is removing language that states students are allowed to take just one dual credit.

-Will attempt to sell old equipment no longer used.

-Approved a first reading on a policy change regarding the district’s fixed assets. The adjustment will raise the threshold of fixed assets to $5,000. Any equipment valued under that total will not be included in the district’s assets. A second reading is needed for the policy to take effect.

-Lind reviewed some of the education bills of interest in the N.D. Legislature. A bill was passed requiring students to be five years old before Aug. 1 to be eligible for kindergarten. The bill which essentially would have made kindergarten mandatory failed. The district is expecting to receive additional transportation funds from the state next year as part of the education transportation bill. Lawmakers removed plans for pre-kindergarten funding programs.

-Was informed the North Central Career and Technical Education Consortium, of which the Rugby district a part, will be offering welding and building trade courses this summer for students who sign up. The building trades course will be offered in Rugby. Also, the Drake School was recently admitted into the consortium, which includes seven schools.

-The district called an executive session to discuss the upcoming teacher contract negotiations.

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