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School requests bus funding from county’s Infrastructure Fund

Posted 11/17/10 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

With its existing school bus fleet wearing out faster than normal, the McKenzie County School District No. 1 school board is going to be asking the McKenzie County Board of County Commissioners to use a portion of the county’s Infrastructure Fund to purchase six new buses, as well as to provide funds to help construct a new bus storage facility.
“The North Dakota Legislature provided funds to each of the energy impacted counties to help school districts purchase new buses,” stated Steve Holen, district superintendent, during the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9. “We need to ask the county to help us begin replacing a part of our bus fleet because of the impacts that we are seeing.”
According to Holen, the district will be asking the county to provide $631,300 from the Infrastructure Fund to help the district purchase six new 47-passenger buses, as well as a new activity bus.
“We are not being extravagant in this request,” stated Holen. “ We need these buses, and because of increasing enrollment numbers, we are also looking at adding another bus route.”
During Tuesday’s meeting the board also approved an Infrastructure Fund request of $629,115 to assist in the construction of the district’s new transportation storage facility.
Holen, who had previously met with the county commissioners, told the board that while the commissioners are receptive to helping the district with the storage facility, they questioned whether or not Infrastructure Funds could be used.
“While the commissioners were open to helping us with the storage building, they do not believe that the Infrastructure Fund can be used for anything other than school bus purchases,” stated Holen. “The best case scenario for us would be for the commissioners to fund the storage facility from its Bankhead-Jones Funds. It is within the commission’s authority to use those funds in that manner.”
In a non-related issue, the school board gave its approval to allow Supt. Holen to teach one section of Pre-Algebra for the balance of the first semester.
“With our enrollment at 601 students as of Nov. 9, we are concerned with some of our class sizes in the high school, particularly with our Pr-Algebra classes,” stated Holen.
While the board questioned whether or not they wanted another school administrator to be teaching classes, Holen felt that he could make it work for the remainder of the first semester.
“I have the time to teach the class through the end of this semester,” stated Holen. “We’re doing what we can to get through this semester.”
In other business, the school board:
• Was updated by Supt. Holen on the status of district construction projects.
• Began the formal evaluation process of Supt. Holen.
• Accepted a letter of resignation from Leann Erickson effective Nov. 24 as a special education teacher. Erickson will continue as the high school art instructor and Prom advisor on a part-time basis. Holen informed the board that WilMac is responsible for filling the position.
• Approved the second and final reading of a Professional Staff Early Notification of Resignation Policy.
The next meeting of the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 school board will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 13.