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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Watson approved for extended maternity leave

  • The school has set some precedent by allowing teachers to reduce their hours after the birth of a child in the past. With the new changes, Watson would work Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These changes passed unanimously, but created a situation in which they would need to fill the Tuesday, Thursday time-slots for the fourth grade class.
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  • Abby Watson is a fourth grade instructor at Butterfield-Odin Elementary. She had a child this semester and requested to extend her maternity leave one week longer to March 1, 2013. The Butterfield-Odin School Board took action on the request at their regular Feb. 19 meeting.
    Watson also made the request that her contract would be reduced to 60 percent time for the remainder of the school year. She expressed her interest in staying home with her three daughters and that she would be thankful if the school board would oblige her request. With this resolution, Watson would return to her full time teaching position in the fall of 2013.
    The school has set some precedent by allowing teachers to reduce their hours after the birth of a child in the past. With the new changes, Watson would work Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These changes passed unanimously, but created a situation in which they would need to fill the Tuesday, Thursday time-slots for the fourth grade class.
    The answer came in a later resolution for a long-term substitute contract. Jen Harris, who has been Watson’s long-term substitute while on maternity, was approved by the Butterfield-Odin school board to work a 40 percent time at a daily rate of $181.88. She will also be covering for Watson during her extended maternity leave. Watson explained that this would be best for the students, because Harris has done most of the teaching during the trimester and it would be good for her to close out the unit with the students.
    A final touch-up to the school budget was approved unanimously at the Tuesday night meeting. The integration revenue budget must be acted upon separate from the regular budget, per state request. The school board has approved the integration budget as presented for the amount of $29,221 for the fiscal year 2014. This includes $2,500 in general funds, $4,400 in professional services, $3,000 in field trips, a $2,900 coordinator budget and the rest to be applied to direct student contact.
    As mentioned in last month’s meeting, Kevin Rupp has moved to his own law firm in Rupp, Anderson, Squires and Waldspurger. The school board desired to stay with Rupp as their attorney, even though he has switched offices. Rupp has represented Butterfield-Odin in the past. The school board approved Rupp, Anderson, Squires and Waldspurger as the District 836 law firm unanimously.
    The final action item of the Feb. 19 meeting was to accept recommendations for reduction in programs and positions for the school district if need-be throughout the year. This action is taken every year, but does not mean cuts will be made and was described by school board members as “standard business.”
    All consent items were approved unanimously before the school board heard from various committees about what is going on with the Butterfield-Odin school. Here is what they had to report:
    Page 2 of 2 - The bathroom remodel is underway, with the floors being torn up and water appliances being moved to modernize the space and open up the area.
    There will be a trap shooting meeting on Feb. 27 in St. James. There are two students from Butterfield Odin who are members of the trap shooting team. Some questions were brought up regarding the storage of firearms around school property.
    February I love to read month is reportedly going well. Tables have been set up around Butterfield with kids favorite books posted for reading. A challenge-week program will be underway soon to see who can read the most in one week’s span. The child/children who win this contest will get to skip school for a pizza party.
    The Reading Rocks program has reached 13,555 minutes this last week. Board members feel the students could reach 15,000 minutes by the end of March.
    The Butterfield-Odin school got their first 20 iPads delivered this month and the items have already been in use in some classrooms. Superintendent Lisa Shellum wanted the community to know they are looking for sponsors to purchase a cart of iPads for students. Sponsors would get their name and business logo on the iPad, if they so desired. These iPads stay with the school and each instructor gets a $25 iCard to purchase applications for the object.
    The board reported Julie Saunders, the winner of the Butterfield-Odin spelling bee, came in seventh place at the regional competition.
    “We are very proud of Julie, for our small school seventh is great,” said Shellum.
    The winner of the regional tournament goes straight to nationals in Washington DC.
    The Butterfield-Odin gym will not be used for summer volleyball, but the school board is hopeful their fields will be used for spring sports.The baseball fields have been used in the past for lower-level sports, such as b-squad activities and junior high.
    The school administration moved parent parking to behind the busses, which is especially useful during these cold winter months, while more parents choose to pick up and drop off their children. The busses were moved up and parents are asked to park behind the busses and crosswalk in order to ensure safety for the students who are loading and unloading the busses. The school will be going to city council in the hopes of turning the street into a one way for added protection.
    Class sizes have been given a new limit of 26 – any more than that the school will split the class. Currently there are 232 students enrolled.

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