In stark contrast to the lengthy board meetings of the 2017-18 board meetings, the Dupree School Board covered a lot of ground in a relatively short, hour-long meeting, with much of the information discussed revolving around the school’s increase in student population and need for both staff and space expansion.
Middle School/High School Principal Russ Budmayr said, “Personally, I feel pretty good about Dupree school and the halls are getting full.”
Board members and others agreed the school has been on an upward swing, and Board President Jake Longbrake said he has been apart of a long effort to re-establish the school to its former glory, in reference to the status of the school through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
The issues facing the school with the increase in student numbers revolve primarily around space for students and access to resources.
Students who receive special services under the special education umbrella, in particular, according to Elementary Principal Cindy Lindskov, need better access to resources so that the school complies with their needs under state law.
To ensure compliance and meet the needs of the students, the school board passed a motion to hire two additional special education paraprofessionals, placing one in the high school and one in the elementary school.
The school will have to pay for the paras to establish a need that they then present in a grant later in the year in hopes of receiving money to cover the expense of the hires, said Business Manager Connie Alspach.
Lindskov also pointed out the increase in the number of kindergarteners enrolled this year and told the board members that they will most likely need to consider hiring another teacher to ensure service to the students in currently packed rooms.
Lindskov said the elementary school needs more space for teaching students, pointing out that closets and storage rooms have been repurposed for instruction.
The District is already working to build restrooms, concession and storage space, as well as a weight-lifting space for athletes near the football field.
The location of the old weight room posed a safety issue. Safety is one of the consistent concerns when the school uses different spaces for different purposes.
In the main gym, the padding at either end of the gym was determined to be too short for safety purposes. The school had to spent $8,000.00 to purchase new padding, and will repurpose the old padding in the old gym or in the weight room.
In addition to safety, the board noted that they will need to think about and begin planning for building more classroom space.
The meeting consisted of regular business — carrying motions to pass the fuel bid, and approvals of the meeting minutes from last month, the agenda for the meeting at hand, etc.
The board approved all open enrollments and the hiring of a bus driver.
Information pertaining to teacher training, recruitment and retention was raised by Lindskov, but did not result in extensive discussion.
The seniors requested coronation for homecoming week be held on Wednesday, Oct. 2, the week of homecoming (Sept 30-Oct 4), and their request was approved.