Enrollment at Perham-Dent school lower than expected

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Enrollment in the Perham-Dent School District is lower than expected, largely due to a smaller kindergarten class.

At the regular school board meeting on Wednesday, September 9, it was reported that the planned enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year was 1,576 students, however, there are only 1,525 students enrolled for the start of the school year. , a difference of 51 students. . Enrollment for the 2019-20 school year was 1,525 students enrolled in the fall and 1,576 at the end of the spring.

Anderson said 25 of those 51 students must be in the kindergarten class.

“Much of this decline is due to a significantly smaller kindergarten class, which we expected due to the circumstances of COVID, Superintendent Mitch Anderson said. “Kindergarten is not compulsory for families, so many of them have made the decision to wait to start the year or will start next year.”

All three public schools in Perham-Dent reported a strong start to the 2020-21 school year.

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“We are very excited about the start of our school year,” said Liz Johnson, Principal of Heart of the Lakes Elementary.

Although high school and middle school are quieter this year with only half the students at a time, the first week was successful. The primary school is operating at full capacity with all students in person.

According to Johnson, the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up at the elementary school went smoothly during the first week, with students being dropped off and picked up quickly and efficiently.

The three principals said the Minnesota Department of Education’s COVID-19 guidelines have brought about many new ways of doing things to protect the health and safety of all students and staff. They said some of these new practices are good and should be continued after the pandemic.

Principals said the new way of holding open houses in small groups helped young students feel more comfortable in their new environment and gave teachers more time to communicate and meet with families.

Other matters discussed by the board:

  • The council approved changes to the pay levels of 20 teachers. According to Anderson, teachers move up in rank for every 10 college-level credits they complete while working on their continuing education.

  • The board authorized the district to increase the daily rate of pay for substitute teachers from $110 to $125. The new increase will match the daily rate paid to substitute teachers by the New York Mills School District and Frazee.

  • The board approved the addition of a college tennis coach, which is needed with the increase in the number of participants in the sport and to accommodate the team traveling separately from the varsity and junior teams.

  • The board approved the fall 2020 coaches for cross country, soccer, knowledge bowl, volleyball, women’s tennis, and women’s swimming and diving. Volleyball and football will be played only and any game they see will be at Perham Secondary School.

  • The council accepted a donation of $27,223 from the Deloris Barnack Kenner Fund and $20 from the family of Don Seifert.

  • The Minnesota Department of Education released the preliminary tax levy sheets this week. These will be subject to change by mid-December. Once the ministry finalizes the levy amount, the board will proceed to its final vote on the levy. Currently, the board has approved the maximum levy amount, which will be set in December so it’s not pinned to a specific amount, according to Anderson.

  • The next regular school board meeting will be at 5:00 p.m. on October 14.

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