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Benson School Board signs on to Race to Top grant app

CLONTARF -- The Benson School Board has approved signing on to the state's application for the federal Race to the Top grant money.

The decision came Monday at the board's regular meeting at St. Malachy's Church in Clontarf, according to Superintendent Lee Westrum. The board hosts four meetings a year in the outlying communities of Clontarf, DeGraff, Danvers and Swift Falls. The school district serves all four communities.

The district had until Jan. 13 to decide if it would participate in the Minnesota Department of Education's application to the U.S. Department of Education for grant money. Race to the Top awards $4.3 billion in education funding to states as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The district may reconsider its decision at a later date, Westrum said. One of the qualifiers for a district to receive funding is its involvement in Q-COMP, the state's teacher incentive program. Currently, the Benson School District does not participate in Q-COMP.

The district also completed its annual organization during the first meeting of the year. Lorrie Alsaker was re-elected board chair; Bill McGeary was re-elected vice chair; Jeff Guest will remain clerk; and Stan Claussen treasurer.

The board also did not increase salaries. Regular board members receive $1,000 per year, $40 per special meeting, $100 for an all-day meeting and mileage at the current IRS rate.

The board meets the first and third Mondays of each month.