Pequot Lakes School: Board tables Spanish trip discussions

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In its regular meeting, the Pequot Lakes School Board tabled a request to approve a trip to Spain for the Spanish Club in June of 2021, citing perceived high costs and a need for more information.

The school board on Monday, Nov. 18, heard a presentation from Spanish teacher Christine Palmer laying out the proposed trip - which she said has been requested by several students - for an estimated 46 students. A cost per student of nearly $4,100 is roughly $1,300 more than the club’s previous trip to Costa Rica, and gave pause to several board members fearing it may pressure some families into paying for a trip they cannot afford.

“I find the cost extremely high, and I travel a lot,” Board Chair Kim Bolz-Andolshek said.

The cost includes round-trip airfare, eight overnight hotel stays, guided tours with multilingual tour directors and buffet-style daily breakfasts. Trips are taken every two years and are open to students who have taken two years of Spanish.

The board plans to address the issue again in its December meeting.


In other action Monday, the board:

  • Heard and approved the results of its annual audit.

  • Adopted a memorandum of understanding of a one-time early retirement incentive to reduce future expenditures and “honor teachers that have served in education for many years." The incentive offer is available to teachers who have worked 10 years or more in Pequot Lakes, and includes a one-time $23,000 deposit into the retiree’s health retirement account. This offer will be voided if fewer than six teachers choose to participate.

  • Repealed a policy regarding substitute professional staff employment that Superintendent Chris Lindholm called “redundant.”

“This was a policy written back in 2009,” Lindholm said. “Rather than try to re-work this policy, I think it is best that we just not have it. Statutes … are more restrictive now than they were in the past. It’s outdated.”

  • Nominated Bolz-Andolshek for a position on the Sourcewell board of directors.

  • Approved a resolution establishing combined polling places, which is an annual process for the board.

  • Accepted eight donations to the district totaling $2,168.55, as well as one donation to the student activity fund for $1,000.

As part of its consent agenda, the board approved the resignations of food service cook helper Jessica Olstad and middle level girls basketball coach Chad Rudbeck, as well as extended leaves for bus driver Joseph Thatcher and high school teacher Lynn Smith.
The board also approved the hiring of middle level boys basketball coach Renee Quale, assistant boys basketball coach Garry Phelps, “C” girls basketball coach Emilee Buell, assistant robotics coach Erik Huseby, bus driver Joel Mailand and middle level girls basketball coach Dawn Kaelke.

The board’s Dec. 16 meeting will follow its annual truth in taxation public hearing, which will begin at 6 p.m.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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