homepage logo

ELC principal recommends alternative

By Staff | Feb 13, 2008

There are currently 24 students at Estherville Lincoln Central High School who failed three or more classes last semester.

If the ELC Community School District Board of Education approves, those students could find themselves with different classmates next year.

With the current capacity of the Laker High at just half the expected demand, Estherville Lincoln Central High School Principal Frank Christenson Monday night proposed that the district take over the alternative high school from Iowa Lakes Community College.

According to information Christenson provided, 20-22 students attend Laker High at ILCC. The program cap is 24. With 23 students in grades 10-12 who have no chance to graduate with their classmates, even if they take eight classes per semester, plus another 42 students in ninth through 11th grade who would have to take seven or more classes to graduate on time, that could possibly double the number of students at the alternative school, Christenson said.

He proposed that with the upcoming availability of the McKinley building, the district would take over the program, making it available to students in grades 10-12 or 16-21 years old. Christenson said alternative school would not be offered to students under age 16 due to mandatory full-time attendance laws. Freshmen could possibly attend, however, under a separate attendance contract.

Students in grades 10-12 would have to attend a minimum of three hours a day. They would have to be referred by the high-school principal.

The school would open with one certified lead teacher and at least one aide, depending on the number of students. Christenson suggested that students from neighboring districts could enroll to help offset costs.

Superintendent Dick Magnuson said the district’s agreement with Iowa Lakes for Laker High is due for renewal in March. The cost to the district to run the program this year is $117,000 Christenson said.

However, the district could shave $40,000 of that cost by running its own program, he said.

“The key is that we have to meet the needs of our kids,” Magnuson said. “And we have a need in this area.”

Christenson will make a formal proposal on the plan at the next board meeting March 10.