School briefs: School board approves $4.5 million in building repairs

District-ISD-834--Stillwater-Area-Schools-LogoSchool board approves $4.5 million in building repairs During its June 26 meeting, the Stillwater Area School Board approved $4.5 million in facility repairs for the 2015 -2016 school year.

“The Alternative Facility list replaces like for like items within our buildings, maintain’s district standards and protects the investments of the community in our buildings,” Director of Operations Dennis Bloom said.

These projects fall under the 2003 state legislation known as Alternative Facility Funding and Deferred Maintenance. The projects completed in the 2015-2016 school year are required to be published prior to certifying the levy for 2014 pay 2015.

The Alternative Facility projects replace fixtures and components attached to buildings or land. All projects must be given final approval by the Minnesota Department of Education, and individual projects requiring the competitive bidding process will be submitted for board approval prior to beginning any work.

Some of the more major improvements being made to school district buildings are a $700,000 replacement of water piping and septic system at Afton-Lakeland Elementary School, $200,000 to abandon the septic system at Lake Elmo Elementary School and join the city’s new sewer system, $405,000 for a partial roof replacement at Stillwater Junior High School, and $300,000 for a partial roof replacement at Withrow Elementary School.

Board approves Read Well by Third Grade

As part of the school’s Bridge to Excellence plan and the 2014 World’s Best Workforce state education legislation, the Stillwater Area School Board approved a Read Well by Third Grade plan. The plan will be used to achieve student literacy by third grade.

“This is one of our goals to ensure that all students can read proficiently by third grade,” Board Member Mike Ptacek said.

The school board is currently working to rewrite the education policies for student performance measures, and Board Chair Tom Lehmann believes this plan meets the goals that are being set in the new policy.

“This is a key thing we will be checking in on,” Lehmann said. “I can’t emphasis enough how important it is for our students to be able to read by third grade.”

Karen Latterell was the curriculum lead to prepared the plan, and she was commended by the school board for her “hours and hours” of work.

“It is extremely thorough, and about 45 pages long,” Ptacek said.

Latterell said the entire plan will be published on the school district’s website after board approval, and that she will create a summary document for parents to understand better what the plan will be.