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Osakis Elementary will be three-section school next year

Osakis Public Elementary School will be a three-section system next school year, after the School Board looked at the projected enrollment number for 2017-18, and approved the decision at its May 8 meeting.

Projections for class size for next year show 48 students in kindergarten, which would mean 16 pupils per section. First grade projected enrollment is 50 students, with 16.7 pupils per section. Second grade is projected at 57 pupils, with 19 per section.

Fourth grade enrollment will be 58 students, or 19.3 per section; fifth grade at 68 students, with 22.7 students per section; and sixth grade at 67, with 22.3 students per section.

Superintendent Randal Bergquist pointed out to the School Board at a work session that there are 67 graduating seniors this year and only 48 kindergarteners projected coming this fall. State aids amount to about $8,000 per child, Bergquist said.

The board discussed having a couple classes with 2 1/2 sections, but decided against that. Having three sections would require an extra one and a half teachers, and cost about $70,000.

"What's best for the kids?" Bergquist asked the board. He hopes to recruit more students to Osakis next year, and has embarked on an advertising campaign, including radio spots, taped by this year's kindergarten pupils, to help with recruiting.

"We are open for business," Bergquist told the board, "We have a lot of offer here."

Personnel update

Bergquist told the board that the ag teacher position is hard to fill, and the district may have to hire a long-term substitute for the next school year. The Family and Consumer Science position to be vacated by the retirement of Connie Ferris has been filled.

The School Board accepted the resignations of paraprofessionals Denelle Kirk, Nichol Neumann, Danielle Esch, and the resignation of Mike Didier as a bus driver.

A reception for Ferris and Didier, both long-time district staff, will be held on Friday, June 2 from 11:30 to 12:30.

Dan Beste was hired as social studies teacher at the master agreement salary of $48,153. He was also hired as an assistant football coach at the master contract amount of $4,089. Beste holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, and a Masters in Administration. He served as athletic director at Littlefork-Big Falls High School, taught social studies at Littlefork-Big Falls for five years, and coached basketball and baseball there.