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Flu shots, bond issue on school agenda

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An allocation of 200 H1N1 flu shots has been scheduled for distribution at Blackduck Public Schools Nov. 18. Superintendent Bob Doetsch told the school board at its regular meeting Monday that parents were notified and asked to give written approval if they wish their children to get the swine flu inoculations. At mid-week, nearly all had been requested by parents.

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The program is limited to students -- no adults are included, he said.

During the same meeting, Doetsch asked for and received board approval for preliminary steps in asking voters to support a bond issue next year.

The board was told any bond issue referendum would list with dollar estimates the items on which voters would pass judgment. It would, Doetsch said, be a 'bricks and mortar' list starting with inclusion of $518,000 to complete a new roof over remaining parts of the building.

Displaying a pair of large buckets, Doetsch told the board two projects in the art department had been ruined. "We put a new roof on the science wing and now the water is running into the art department and the elementary school wing." That drew a cynical suggestion from a board member that if the bond issue isn't successful, "we'll just have to buy more buckets."

The total budget projection for the referendum was set at about less than $2 million. A current issue, expiring in two years, will mean an annual loss of $107,000, putting additional need for passage. The referendum would also spread the tax more widely, including on seasonal properties.

Board member Larry Zea moved to go ahead with planning, adding a suggestion that a bond election be held next April or May so work could begin as early as the summer of 2010. Seconded by Mark Sparby, the motion got quick approval.

In other action, the board approved new uniforms for the baseball team with funding from that budget, and gave quick approval on hiring coaches and assistant coaches for girls softball and boys varsity baseball. Andra Vaughn, Sheena Reese, Rick Olhava and Jesse Carey were hired for those positions.

The board gave its assent to advertising for a wrestling coach, hearing that 28 students have already signed for that sport.

Opening the general participation at the start of the meeting, the board heard a complaint from Jennifer Parker who sharply criticized the report in The American that referred to the teacher's union asking for mediation in contract talks.

Parker said the union only made the request to forestall future problems, saying the story did not explain the union's position and was misleading as far as the number of working hours even with the new four-day week.

Board member Grant Mistic listened carefully, then reacted with a brief comment. "I read the story," he said, "and it wasn't misleading to me."

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