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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Mike Kolness will be the next superintendent of East Grand Forks Public Schools. Kolness, superintendent of Ada-Borup (Minn.) Public Schools, verbally agreed to a three-year contract with the district, School Board Chairman Tony Palmiscno said Friday. The School Board, which must approve the contract, meets March 14. Details of the contract won't be released until then. Kolness' first day will be July 1. East Grand Forks Superintendent David Pace's last day will be June 30.
The cost to build an elementary school in south Grand Forks was a little less than expected, according to the school district. Discovery Elementary School cost $15.3 million instead of the projected $15.6 million, said Ed Gerhardt, Grand Forks Public Schools' business manager. Gerhardt announced the change at the school facilities committee meeting Thursday. Superintendent Larry Nybladh complimented the work of everyone involved and the facility itself.
THOMPSON, N.D.—Residents of Thompson will soon consider a major school renovation project for the third time since 2012. Growing student enrollment is driving an $11 million bond referendum, which will add more elementary classrooms, a new gym and a new career and technical education wing among other improvements at the K-12 school. Public meetings will be held at 7 p.m. April 11 and 16 at the high school gym at 424 Third St. The vote will be held May 3. Superintendent John Maus said he strongly supports the plan.
CROOKSTON—A recently hired American Indian liaison for Crookston Public Schools was fired Wednesday based on information the district will not disclose, according to the district superintendent. Jonathan Stronstad, a part-time liaison at Highland Elementary School for the past two months, has been fired pending School Board intervention. He will be paid for the next two weeks of work, he said.
The Grand Forks School Board on Monday approved to continue an arrangement with the city for student parking downtown. Parking for Central High School students has posed a challenge to the two entities for years, as each has struggled to satisfy both downtown development interests and the desire and needs of the school. The 8-1 motion renews the one-year lease for 97 spots up to 150 in a garage next to Central and also approves rezoning a residential property at University Avenue and South Fifth Street used for parking into a commercial one.
CROOKSTON—A new American Indian liaison for Crookston Public Schools, who some say has made strong progress with students, has been placed on temporary paid leave. Jonathan Stronstad, who was hired as a part-time liaison Dec. 15, said he just wants to keep his job. He feels administration is targeting the position and the American Indian Education program, he said. "I just want to go back and help those kids," he said.
Grand Forks Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nybladh received high ratings on his annual evaluation. School Board members didn't discuss the evaluation before they approved it at a Monday meeting. According to the superintendent evaluation committee, Nybladh consistently meets expectations related to leadership, long-term districtwide planning and communication with the public and district personnel.
One Grand Forks student set to attend Central High School next year told the School Board Monday his heart belongs to Red River High School. Justin Erickson, who attends South Middle School, spoke to board members about the way he feels new school boundary lines will affect his future. The school boundary lines, which went into effect for the first time this fall, have sparked questions and frustration in some families who live close to Red River but must send their students across town. The district draws the lines to determine where students attend school.
A new Advanced Placement study program allows North Dakota high school students to take at least one AP test at no cost. Part of the state "Leveraging the Senior Year" program, students can take at least one AP exam in English, math and science — including computer science — without paying a fee, according to a release Monday from the state Department of Public Instruction.
The Grand Forks School Board approved starting the school day for elementary students 15 minutes later next year. After a detailed presentation by several teachers and administrators, the board approved starting the instructional day at 8:20 a.m. instead of 8:05 a.m. every day to give elementary teachers more prep time.