Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, Minot High School students will no longer be required to take a quarter credit of driver and traffic and safety education to graduate. Minot Public School Board members approved the change Thursday, though 22 credits will still be required to graduate.
Assistant Supt. Kim Slotsve told the school board on Thursday that the requirement is onerous for students who are transferring into the district as juniors and seniors. Slotsve said the district will combine the existing quarter credit classes into a semester elective class that carries a course fee of $100. Slotsve said she expects most students will continue to take the class even if it is not required.
Another change will enable eighth-graders who take algebra to earn a high school credit for the class and have the class listed on their high school transcript and be used to calculate their high school grade point average. Slotsve said the change is important because the number of math classes taken by a student is considered now for college admission and college scholarships. Eighth-graders qualify for the algebra class with high test scores and recommendations from their math teachers. The change would take effect next school year. Slotsve said it will also require a slight lengthening of the algebra class offered at Memorial Middle School at Minot Air Force Base to meet requirements.
Also at Thursday's meeting, the board approved a fee hike for the Community Learning Center after school programs offered at Edison, Longfellow, Bel Air and Perkett Elementaries, none of which receive federal funding because they don't have enough students who qualify for free and reduced price lunches. CLC director Boyd Strand said the programs have been operating at a loss and the changes are necessary to balance the budget. The fee for one student for one of the programs will increase to $130 a month, up $20; the fee for two students from the same family will go up $15 per month to $150 per month and the fee for three or more children in a program will go up $10 per month to $170 per month. The fee change will take effect in January. Strand said personnel will work with any families who find the fee increase a financial burden. The fee change doesn't impact the CLC programs at the other schools in the district, which receive federal grant funding.
Supt. Mark Vollmer also said Thursday that the district will hold public informational meetings in January and February to discuss the need for a $32 million bond issue to pay for Phase Two of the district's plan to address growth in the district.
That would include construction of a new elementary school, purchase of land to eventually build a new high school, and an addition at one of the elementaries, possibly Edison Elementary.
Vollmer said there are currently 753 children in kindergarten; 625 children in first grade and 626 in second grade, putting the total student population in those three grades at 2,004. The district is also experiencing a 3.5 percent average growth rate each year. After the new Erik Ramstad Middle School in northwest Minot is completed, the district will have a total middle school capacity of 1,570, meaning there won't be adequate space for the K-2 students in 2018.
The third phase of the plan the district has been considering would eventually call for construction of a second high school and turning the existing Central Campus High School into a third middle school in Minot.
Ongoing work on the new Erik Ramstad Middle School, additions at Longfellow and Lewis and Clark Elementaries and the renovation of the existing Longfellow Elementary, which was damaged in the flood, are also on schedule. Also in progress is construction of a new gymnasium at Jim Hill Middle School. The library at Central Campus is also undergoing renovation. The library renovation project had been delayed by the 2011 flood.