Published March 9, 2022

School Board Approves Additional Staff Despite Deficits

Written by
Jasahd Stewart
| The Dakotan
MPS School board discuss pros and cons for taking on additional staff. [Photo: MPS Live Stream YouTube]
MPS School board discuss pros and cons for taking on additional staff. [Photo: MPS Live Stream YouTube]

MINOT — Minot Public Schools (MPS) School Board approved opening three additional staff positions for next year, one full-time and two part-time, during its meeting on Tuesday.

Assistant superintendent Kim Slotsve recommended the board approve a full-time counselor for Jim Hill Middle School. State staffing recommendations call for no more than 300 students per counselor for each school district.

“Jim Hill next year, we are staffing at 860 students, and they have two counselors. So, if you do the math, that is 430 per counselor,” explained Slotsve.

Although MPS is technically within the recommended staffing guidelines for counselors throughout the entire district, Jim Hill individually fails to reach that golden ratio of students per counselor.

As for the two part-time positions, a Social Studies teacher for Central Campus and a teacher for Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS) at Magic City Campus are now open for next year.

Before the board approved the proposal, school board member Miranda Schuler expressed concerns about costs for hiring additional staff.

“Since I’ve been here, every year we’ve adjusted deficits that have increased,” Schuler said. “Thankfully, over the last two years we’ve had some federal money that has come in and helped us… but I am a little worried about how we are going to fund some of these positions.”

Slotsve countered by saying there was an increase in freshmen that revealed a need for a part-time teacher in Social Studies, a subject she pointed out is “required by law.”

Superintendent Mark Vollmer addressed the “balance” of having staff for electives and core classes. If the part-time FACS position (an elective course) did not pass, he said he feared that the students who would have potentially filled that slot would instead cause core classes to swell up during the year.

“I will say that the staffing process is intense,” explained Vollmer. “I am concerned, and I’ve shared that with Kim that the part-time position might be very hard to fill. But the longer we wait, its not going to necessarily make that easier. My request is that you approve those two half-time positions.”

The projected deficit for MPS this year is $4.9 million. However, the board approved the additional staff. Schuler suggested the board “correct their course a little bit” with their spending by seeking opportunities for efficiencies in the future.

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