Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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When the District 833 School Board meets on March 21, the three budget-cutting options that have been discussed over the past month will be off the table. Instead, a compromise "hybrid" plan is getting board members' support and will accomplish a needed $2 million budget cut. If approved, the majority of the money saved -- $1.5 million -- will come by cutting 22.5 positions in the instructional area, though not necessarily classroom teachers.
AmeriCorps reading volunteer Dominique Edwards struggled with reading when she was in elementary school, so she knows what children are going through when they need help. Edwards is one of the volunteers who are in every elementary school in School District 833 to provide one-on-one help to struggling readers in kindergarten through third grade. The federal AmeriCorps program is sometimes called "the domestic Peace Corps" because volunteers are recruited to help in primary grades across the country. Edwards, a 2008 Park High School graduate, is an Inver Hills Community College student who's
District 833 Superintendent Keith Jacobus was on the road last week talking to parents in schools that would be affected if the district takes over Crosswinds school in Woodbury. The odds are 50-50 that South Washington County Schools will acquire Crosswinds, Jacobus told parents at Woodbury Elementary, Crestview Elementary and Nuevas Fronteras Spanish Immersion schools. Jacobus began the week at Woodbury Elementary with about 70 parents to explain a plan to move the school's population to Crosswinds, including special education programs.
The bottom line for the District 833 School Board is that it must cut $2 million from the 2013-14 budget. Getting to that $2 million has been a multi-step process for South Washington County Schools. It started with a committee process that looked at seven school budget categories. A second phase took budget options to the public in three recent meetings, online information and surveys. The final phase begins at the Thursday, March 7, school board meeting where three budget-balancing options will be discussed.
From knitting to counted cross-stitch and to Christmas fleece stockings, if they don't know how to do it, they teach each other. Jean Schmitz loves to knit and taught Mary Matykiewicz who prefers counted cross-stitch.
Everyone has them and Cottage Grove Middle School wants them. Students want people to donate used tennis shoes to be recycled to people in developing countries and those who have experienced natural disasters. Next year's eighth-graders are depending on the donations. The school's shoe drive earns 50 cents a pound for the shoes. That money will pay for an anti-bullying program from Youth Frontiers for an eighth-grade retreat. But, wait, there's another goal, too.
After Savanna Grey's teacher, Alissa Nutting, told her art class to draw a poster about peace in the world, an idea quickly formed in the middle schooler's head. Grey saw a big globe of the world and an arc of children around the edge, all of different colors and races. "It took shape right away," she said. Although she didn't tell anyone, Grey admitted in an interview, she "had a feeling" she'd win the Cottage Grove Lions Club Peace Poster Contest.
Park High School seniors Keegan Greene and Maddie Franz didn't need any coaching for their one-time performance in "Bye Bye Birdie" at Chanhassen Dinner Theater. Both were in Park's version of the musical a year ago. Greene and Franz were selected by the school's drama and choir departments to participate in Chanhassen's StarKid program with their performance earlier this month. The theater invited 50 schools around the state to send two students each to appear in matinees on various days. They were told to arrive at the theater Feb.
St. Paul Park officials will suspend Waste Management's trash-hauling license for a week because they say the company has failed to comply with city requirements. City officials said last week that on repeated occasions, Waste Management has failed to submit recycling tonnage reports to the city on time, even after several reminders.
Woodbury resident Steve Ellenwood said a recent East Ridge High School morning announcement that included a Black Panther poem recitation as part of Black History Month is "Marxist indoctrination" that honored a violent organization. Ellenwood and about 10 parents showed up at the Thursday, Feb. 21, District 833 School Board meeting to voice outrage over what students said during Feb.