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School board schedules special meeting

A special board meeting has been called for Monday, Feb. 25. Items on the agenda include: superintendent applications, teacher negotiations, building projects and the preschool proposal.

By Chris Slone

According to Associate Superintendent Steve Brannan, the superintendent application and teacher negotiations will be last on the agenda and will be held in executive session due to the sensitive nature of the topics.

Brannan said if the board comes to a census on the finalists for the superintendent position, they will make that information public at that time. 

The other item that will be held in executive session will be teacher negotiations. At the regular board meeting, the school board accepted the Bowman County Education Association as a negotiating unit for the board.

Brannan said a lot will depend on the legislature and any new funding that has been allocated, but negotiations should get in full swing in the middle of March.

Brannan also said he was in favor of having two-year negotiations instead of the annual negotiations.

“At least 40 percent of school districts do two-year negotiations,” Brannan said. “It gives them a year off. Yearly negotiations make it look like the board and the teachers aren’t on the same page and we can’t have that. We are on the same page. We need to retain our staff and be fair to them, and our staff needs to understand that we are also respectful to the tax payers. We run a tight budget, but quite frankly, finances are not the biggest concern in the Bowman County School District.”

Brannan said the biggest concern facing Bowman County was finding candidates.

“If they are in central or eastern North Dakota, they think the earth is flat and ends at Dickinson,” Brannan said.

According to Brannan, the proposed preschool that Bowman County Elementary Principal Mitch Strand submitted to the board will be the first item on the agenda.

The preschool proposal is designed for 3-year-old children who qualify for special education services and 4-year-old children — they must turn 4 before Aug. 1 of that school year — and be toilet trained.

As far as price is concerned, Strand suggested a flat rate.

“At this time, with our program just starting and not attending daily, I believe a flat fee of $675 with an option of nine monthly installments of $75 would be a fair price,” Strand said. “ … West River Special Services have stressed to stay away from free preschool. (It) gives no ownership to parents. If they are paying for it, they take ownership in the program … “

The other public item on the agenda is bids for the roof at the school. Brannan said the school board didn’t accept either of the two bids they received because they were so vastly different. Now, Brannan is going to rebid the project with more specific specifications for the roof.

“The feeling was let’s be more specific on our specs and ask for a primary bid and a secondary bid,” Brannan said. “That should just be a stamp of approval on (Feb. 25). We’ll advertise the month of March and award them the month of April.”