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No IOUs for the teachers

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Blackduck school teachers and employees will get paid, but the district will have to borrow to meet payrolls. A cash shortfall will happen because state payments due the district have been delayed again, and now the district will rely on borrowing. The result, board members were reminded Monday, is that the district will be paying interest on money it shouldn't have to borrow.

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But it will be meeting payroll without resorting to handing out IOUs.

Superintendent Bob Doetsch said it was the first time since he'd come to Blackduck, the district was broke.

The state is also going forward with its testing program, with fifth, sixth and 10th grade students scheduled for testing in science achievement.

Reacting to the amount of time spent on tests, Doetsch told the board that "I wish they'd give us enough time to teach our kids instead of testing us to death."

Doetsch said the $185,000 in budget cuts approved a month earlier would be somewhat less than that, but gave no specific amounts. He also said that grants have been applied for class size reduction, and that teacher cuts discussed a month ago are still under consideration. In grades K-3, he noted, if enrollment in any grade exceeds 50, another teacher will have to be added in accordance with board policy.

In other action, the board approved a medical leave for bus driver John Pater, a year's leave of absence for Meghan Lien, and acknowledged a number of "Good Things Happening" including the first grades 'Flat Stanley' project. It involves correspondence with students in other states and other countries including Canada and China.

On a similar good note, elementary administrative assistant Lorraine Warden said a total of 24,000 Campbell Soup product coupons had been turned in, for which the school will receive playground and other equipment.

With only brief discussion, the board approved a new policy on incidents occurring at school. The policy, copies of which were not made available, provides that when an incident takes place, parents are to be notified before police are told.

A short time later, the board went into a closed session with the public and press excluded.

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