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Students sway board to approve

By Staff | Jun 10, 2009

SPIRIT LAKE – Two high school students spoke at the Spirit Lake School Board meeting regarding the proposal to allow mock trial as an activity.

Elizabeth Johnson said she wanted to let the board know how much the program has helped students. Johnson noted after only two years, the Spirit Lake team has competed with the top two teams in the nation.

Ashley Greig said mock trial has helped her with public speaking, noting that last year at this time, she wouldn’t have talked to the board.

“It’s a strong program, they’ve done well and we’d like it to continue,” said high school principal Steve Ratzlaff.

The board agreed and approved mock trial as an activity.

Superintendent Doug Latham presented the board with the amount of money spent on diesel and gas for the year. Not including June, $31,119 has been spent on diesel for the 2008-09 school year. In June of 2008, $6,600 was spent on diesel.

In 2007-08, $47,843 was spent on diesel. One bus was taken out of rotation for the current school year, which has helped with the lower expenditure.

In gas, the school has spent $9,587 this year. Latham noted that this is consistent with past figures.

Board member Randy Magg said they need to see estimated gallons of use. With some quick, rough math, Magg estimated the school uses over 10,000 gallons of diesel each year. He also said that a neighboring district asked for bids for diesel and gas providers. They ended up using the same provider, but received a discount.

Board president Beth Will said they would get those figures and continue on with the process of bids.

Graduation requirements for 2009-10 were discussed. Students need 48 credits to graduate, and 36 of those are required courses. The class of 2010 will be the first to graduate with these stipulations.

Ratzlaff said that some music students are struggling to get their required classes. “I don’t want kids to have to choose between class and lunch,” he said.

Recently, the state has required that each student have 120 minutes of physical education each week. “I have no doubt increasing activity is a good idea,” said Ratzlaff. However, fitting in the time is a real challenge, he said.

Ratzlaff gave the board a list of questions, including whether the required courses were too restrictive or if 48 credits was the appropriate number.

The board will discuss the item at the next meeting.

An increase in school breakfast and lunch prices was approved. The new prices are $1.60 for breakfast, $2.10 for K-4 lunch, $2.60 for 5-8 lunch and $2.90 for adult lunch.

The board looked at the contract between Spirit Lake and Iowa Lakes Community College for jointly sponsored courses.

College prep classes available include:

n Ceramics I.

n English composition I.

n Fundamentals of oral communication.

n Statistics.

n Essentials of anatomy and physiology.

n American history since 1877.

n American history to 1877.

Career and technical courses include:

n TV studio production I.

n Advanced TV production II.

n Auto CAD I.

n Auto CAD II.

n Construction print reading.

n Framing technology I and lab.

n Introduction to accounting.

Curriculum director Ranae Sipma said all of the courses are taught in the Spirit Lake school by teachers who hold master’s degrees. The board approved the contract with Iowa Lakes.

The board also bid farewell to two members of the administration, Latham and elementary and middle school principal Nick Sauers.