WHITE BEAR LAKE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS
MONTHLY MEETING NOTES
The White Bear Lake school board meets every second Monday of the month at 7:00 pm in Room 112, at the White Bear Lake District Office, 4855 Bloom Avenue (located in the Central Middle School building). The public is welcome and by attending is a good way of knowing really what happens in our public schools.
It is important that parents and citizens attend these meetings to learn of events occurring in our local education district. Specific information disseminated at school board meetings is not available anywhere else. You must attend to know how the district is functioning, especially since it is supported through your taxes. Citizens should attend City Council meetings for the same reasons.
“Those who show up, move the world”
NOTES ON THE FEBRUARY 10, 2014 SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
The February 10th School Board meeting, like the January meeting, was short in duration. All school board members were in attendance, with the customary number of students sitting in and taking meeting notes. Some classes assign this as a project.
There was no parent or citizen presentation, and as I mentioned a short agenda. The board spoke about the capital projects and gave them a timeline. Several schools have been updated such as Matoska with a new gym. The school board now has an aggressive plan to institute technology. There was also a discussion of how to make up the two days missed due to cold weather.
The March school board meeting will be much busier because of recognitions. Also mentioned was that on Tuesdays at noon, 5th graders are given an opportunity to serve at Donatelli’s on County Road E. This is a unique way to give our students a real world experience. Thanks to Donatelli’s for their efforts.
Procedural items consisted of Payment of Invoices, Correspondence, Acceptance of Gifts, Approve Field Trips, Human Resources Items, and Resolution Proposing Discipline of a Teacher.
Discussion items consisted of: Policy #406 Public and Private Personnel Data1; #419 Tobacco-Free Environment; and #515 Protection & Privacy of Pupil Records.1
Operational items consisted of: Revising the school calendar to compensate for two makeup days. Also, “Action on Cabinet Compensation for 2013-2015.”2
Because of the prevailing trend to more electronic media the textbook budget will be reallocated. In previous years, between $800k and $900k has been allocated to textbooks. In the future only $400k to $500k will be allocated for textbooks and the rest toward electronic media, but does not include digital textbooks.
A Middle School teacher in a large Twin City school district shared with me recently that she had approached her principle about the shortcomings of the Common Core curriculum, and the principle agreed with her concerns. But then in the next sentence the principle stated — “It’s all about the money.” Today, with school boards and administrations it is unfortunately usually about the money. I am saddened for our future generations when their futures are jeopardized by – “It’s all about the money.”
One must be reminded that Minnesota is a “Local Control State” which means each school district can decide for itself what it wishes to adopt as curriculum. The White Bear Lake district readily adopted the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) despite the fact there was limited data and that it was an untried curriculum. CCSSI was readily accepted most likely because funds were given for it to be instituted. Superintendents and School Boards should make decisions solely based on what is best for our children.
1The Common Core initiative, which is being opposed across the nation by parents and teachers, is one of the motivating factors for districts to re-evaluate their Privacy and Student Records policies, and also their technology. One of the major issues with Common Core is the aggressive data gathering it will do. Privacy practices were downgraded by the Obama Administration in anticipation of such programs as Common Core where over 400 data points will be gathered on our children. The preparation for this increased data gathering was quite evident in the extensive educator and student privacy policies revisited in the February school board meeting. There was no denying that on page 78 they talked about “Biometric Records,” an obvious data gathering preparation for Common Core Standards.
2One must remember that ending year 2012 when the White Bear Lake School District proudly told the community that they were going to institute “free” all-day kindergarten at a cost of $910k to the district; at the time the District carried a debt payment of $8,984,510 (loans and interest payments) with a long term debt of $167,950,405 and a per pupil total long term debt of $20,615 (Minnesota Department of Education for year 2012).