Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit www.grandforksherald.com.
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After months of sometimes combative discussions, Grand Forks teachers and School Board members have reached a tentative agreement on the 2015-17 teachers contract. Both sides spent three and a half hours Wednesday ironing out salaries and approving language for more elementary prep time, the two biggest sources of disagreement since talks began in late April. Negotiating School Board members made a last-ditch offer for a total 9.92 percent increase including benefits over the two years, what one board member referred to as "the largest increase to a contract in the history of the school district." Salaries for a first-year teacher woul
Grand Forks high school students can now take a shot at trapshooting. Following concerns of cost and safety, the Grand Forks School District recently approved endorsing clay target shooting as a club. An agreement between the district and the Grand Forks Gun Club, which has been pushing the district to offer the sport, shifts most of the responsibility to the club, according to district documents. Club members assured School Board members on Monday about sport safety and liability, citing the incident-free track record of the U.S.A. High School Clay Target League since 2001.
As Grand Forks teacher contract talks continue to heat up, one member of the School Board negotiating team has been watching from the sidelines. Eric Lunn, a negotiation team member, attended only "one or two" of the meetings that began in May, he said. Conflicts stemming from his new role this year as president of Altru Health System have prevented consistent attendance, and he warned board members beforehand this would likely occur, he said. Teacher contract negotiation sessions have grown occasionally contentious this year.
Two East Grand Forks students earned gold medals at the national Family Career and Community Leaders of America Convention, likely a first in the school district's history, said advisers. Emmy Heisler and Brynn Hillman, soon-to-be eighth graders at Central Middle School, were among 4,200 who competed in various categories at the Washington, D.C., event earlier this month, according to advisers. The nonprofit FCCLA, formerly known as Future Homemakers of America, is a career and technical student organization that promotes growth and leadership development among its 200,000 members.
North Dakota school districts will have to follow new requirements for the number of necessary tutors next fall. The state Department of Public Instruction recently informed districts of a new formula to determine the number of necessary student performance strategists, or tutors. The law previously required one full-time equivalent tutor for every 400 students in kindergarten through third grade.
West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Grand Forks. The report of the virus in mosquitoes falls on the same day North Dakota's first human case was reported. A McLean County female in her 40s has a less severe form of the virus, which can lead to fever, headache and sometimes death, according Michelle Feist, epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health.
The Grand Forks School Board Monday opted to keep board member pay at $4,000 per year. In recent years, the board has annually reassessed member compensation.
The Grand Forks School Board approved Emily Karel as the district's new child nutrition program director on Monday. Karel is currently working as the food and nutrition specialist for Tri-Valley Opportunity Council's Head Start and migrant education program in East Grand Forks. She replaces Julie Tunseth in the position. Karel will start July 27. Karel, chosen from 11 total applicants, was the most qualified candidate, according to the interview team.
The Grand Forks School Board approved an agreement Monday that adds trapshooting to its extracurricular athletic program. The program would be treated like any other district activity, according to Athletic Director Mark Rerick and two representatives of the Grand Forks Gun Club who spoke at the meeting.
The Grand Forks School Board approved publishing a notice Monday for a publichearing on Aug. 10 over a possible tax increase.