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Pine River-Backus School: School to highlight solar program

RReal Solar celebrates the finished installation of a 1.14 million kWh solar array for the Pine River-Backus School District. The solar array is the largest school installation in central Minnesota, according to the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance. Submitted photo

Elementary school Principal Rick Aulie announced to the Pine River-Backus School Board on Monday, March 18, that discussions have begun on curriculum surrounding the school's solar panels.

The panels were installed with the understanding that they could eventually be incorporated into the school's curriculum in some way, likely in relation to the school's science program.

Superintendent Dave Endicott said the Rural Renewable Energy Alliance in Backus is talking to the Minnesota Department of Education about new science standards that could heavily feature sustainable energy components. The goal is to have the new standards signed at Pine River-Backus because of the solar system and its demonstration of the school's commitment to sustainable energy education.

In other business Monday, the board:

• Accepted the resignations of Area Learning Center math teacher Lorry Parrish; Technology Director Richard Meyer; and high school vocal music teacher Naomi Horn, and authorized posting for replacements.

• Approved hiring Mindy Coulter-Glazier as long-term substitute teacher.

• Approved a 2019-20 school calendar that was one of several that school staff favored. All of the favored calendars had a full week for spring break.

• Announced an additional May 7 public meeting for discussion of the bond referendum building project. This meeting will wrap up and include all updates from previous meetings with community, staff and students. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the media center. The bond referendum vote is Tuesday, May 14.

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