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School Board approves deficit budget for 2014 – 2015 school year

MORRIS – The Morris Area School Board officially approved a budget with a general fund deficit of $185,832 at their meeting Tuesday. The board has been reviewing the budget monthly, so there was not much discussion about particular budget items.

The budget includes several staff additions including a part-time counselor, another fifth grade teacher, an increased technology support position, a custodian, and more time for elementary music and physical education.

Superintendent Scott Monson said that when he reviewed all of the additions the budget had the deficit “didn’t sting as much.” Monson added that the board often does a budget revision in November after the district’s audit is complete.

Changes made to draft of high school handbook

Since the first reading in May, the Morris Area High School Student Handbook has undergone a number of additional changes.

Requirements for class rank/GPA were revised. In the most recent version, students must earn a minimum of 50 percent of the required graduation credits from MAHS to be eligible for class rank/GPA. The student with the highest GPA will be named valedictorian and the second highest GPA will be named salutatorian.

Language was removed that would stop the practice of reading wills or prophesies at the prom banquet. A requirement that speeches should be approved by administration ahead of the banquet was also removed.

Language was added that would allow students who take a PSEO class on a pass/fail basis to submit a written appeal to have one course per semester counted for credit but not included in their cumulative GPA.

The handbook was aligned with the activities handbook to state that students must be passing all classes to participate in any extracurricular activity, contest or event.  

The handbook will be approved after a final reading at the next scheduled school board meeting.

Other business

  • The board approved a new Teacher Development Plan for the district. Members of the Teacher Development Plan Leadership Team included Deb Peterson, Amy Millard, Lanna Stahman, Tammy Roth, Tim Cannon, John Kleinwolterink, Shelley Messner and Ken Gagner.
  • The board approved RJ Ahmann as the district’s insurance agent of record and accepted a 2014 – 2015 insurance proposal for the company. The total cost for insurance will be about $158,900, up from $132,700 in 2013 – 2014. Representatives Stephen Shea and Michael Korf said their company will be working with the district to try and bring down the cost of their workers’ compensation insurance.
  • The board approved a new cooperative agreement for girls tennis between Morris Area, Chokio-Alberta and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley.
  • The board approved moving the last day of school for the 2014 – 2015 school year to Tuesday, June 2, to maintain the required number of student contact days.