Incoming Pine River-Backus School District kindergarten class is small, reducing enrollment size

School district hirings and resignations announced for upcoming year.

Echo Journal file photo

PINE RIVER — During the Monday, Aug. 1, regular school board meeting, Pine River-Backus Elementary School Principal Rick Aulie said larger classes moving on to high school combined with a smaller incoming kindergarten class have resulted in a much lower enrollment for the 2022-2023 year.

Since the end of the school year, Aulie said 10 students left the district, but their places were basically filled when 10 students joined the district, thus making that contribution to the enrollment report balance.

The school board otherwise performed business as usual Monday, announcing the following hirings for the coming school year: van driver Janice Weaver; student council adviser Aimee Wilson; vocal music adviser Teresa Hamp; band adviser, pep band adviser and pit orchestra director Ben Kinser; elementary music performance adviser and fall musical vocal coach Kate Davis; senior high Knowledge Bowl adviser Isaac Anderson; junior high Knowledge Bowl adviser Melanie Lindquist; drama adviser Jennifer Anderson; varsity cross country coach Karl Ludeman; and elementary STEAM teacher Courtney Benson.

The board accepted resignation of cook Ashley Schlapkohl.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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