Following a unanimous vote, the Nashwauk-Keewatin School Board approved five-day, all-day kindergarten for Independent School District 319 last week. The move follows the availability of funding from the state of Minnesota, which now fully funds all-day kindergarten. Previously, the state only paid districts 50 percent of the normal per pupil allocation for kindergarten students. The new funding was approved during the 2013 legislative session, when lawmakers enacted $485 million in new E-12 spending over the biennium.
The move to all-day kindergarten is a first for the district, which historically offered four-day, all-day kindergarten to families in the district. The move to all-day everyday will begin next fall.
In other business, the board:
• Listened to resident opinions on the issue of nine-man football for the district. Seeking a survey of the interested students, more dialogue will take place. Currently, the district collaborates with Greenway Schools in an eleven-man football program, the GNK Titans. The two districts also collaborate in wrestling and track and field. Implementation of nine-man football would allow N-K to run an independent football program.
• Approved adding March 21 and April 17 to the school calendar. Due to severe winter weather conditions in recent months, the district needed to make up several snow days or face a loss in state funding. The two days added were originally not scheduled as school days.
• Discussed the performance review of Superintendent Mark Adams. Chairperson Barb Kalmi reported the annual superintendent evaluation took place during a closed meeting after the last school board meeting, Feb. 18. All six board members were present along with Adams. Ten areas were reviewed: leadership on educational programs, staff, and curriculum development; school board communication; policy recommendation; public relations; financial management; contract negotiations; comprehensive planning; government relations; training participation; and management of district staff. Expectations were met in all areas.
• Listened to a report from Music Director Laura Goucher who told the board that 19 students had participated in the spring band contest at Greenway on March 17. Six of the students received superiors, the top ranking. On March 18, the full band took part in the contest and three superiors were awarded, one from each judge.
• Discussed the issue of school security. Business Manager Mark Case spoke to the issue and said the door access system, a significant step forward, will be installed in April.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for April 15 at 6 p.m.