March 18, 2020

School district looks to create alternative school

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

After offering an alternative education pilot program for Watford City High School students this year, the McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 would like to make this educational opportunity a permanent program. And during their March 9 meeting, the board approved submitting an application to the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction for official status of the program.
“The goal of an alternative school is to provide an educational setting where students who are falling behind in their classes can get caught up and still graduate,” states Steve Holen, district superintendent. “The students would be able to catch up on their assignments with a licensed teacher on site to help them.”
According to Holen, with the additional $2,509 per student funding that the state would provide the district, it would require between 15 and 20 students be part of the alternative school to make it financially viable.
“We would be getting $12,545 per student in the alternative school,” Holen told the board. “It won’t go a long way. Are you willing to take a loss in providing the program for the benefit of the students?”
The purpose of the alternative school, according to Holen, is to keep students in school and to provide them with the opportunity to graduate.

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