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Things are coming together in Carlton

Carltons new high school assistant principal Becky Connelly.

After a tumultuous summer, student enrollment in the Carlton School District (as of Tuesday night) was down by 11 students. Twelve students "left" the district, although only six of those had ever attended school there; the others have always open enrolled elsewhere or moved in from outside the district and chose to continue at their previous school. One new student had moved into the district.

"There are more kids, maybe four, that may be coming in," Superintendent Peter Haapala told the Carlton School Board members at Monday's regular board meeting, which was also attended by a half dozen community members and staff. "[Open enrollments] are supposed to happen by January 1, but districts have allowed it to continue. You don't want to limit the kids coming in, so you can't limit the kids going out."

Despite the fact that a few students chose to leave the district, the atmosphere at Monday's meeting was almost lighthearted, compared to meetings throughout the summer, from the time when board members first discovered the district didn't have state approval for its plan to get out of statutory operating debt (SOD), to earlier this month when the board approved three new SOD plans to send to the state.

One audience member knitted while she listened, and questions were freely raised at points throughout the meeting.

It seems things are coming together just in time for the start of school.

Becky Connelly, the new high school assistant principal, said she was very close to completing the class schedule for the year, and class sizes are still relatively low.

"The average size is probably between 20 and 21," she said, noting that the largest class will have 34 students and there are smaller classes such as advanced algebra and pre-calculus that only have five to seven students.

Elementary School Principal B.J. Berg reported the roofing project at South Terrace was nearly complete and school handbooks close to finished, although he still has a vacancy for a music teacher.

The board also approved the hiring of Cloquet attorney Dennis Korman as the head football coach, with Ryan Lindstrom as his assistant, as the team practiced just outside the board room.

Board members also approved a number of other hires Monday night, including the following:

• Tracy Bockbrader will be the school's new activities director. The high school teacher - who will continue with her teaching duties as well - had been acting as interim activities director.

• Annie Schumacher was hired to teach third grade;

• Michael Rosen was hired to teach high school;

• Crimsen Ruhnke was hired to teach Title One; and

• Lisa Johnson was recalled to teach at both the elementary school and the high school.

Board members also approved the recall of seasonal layoffs, which includes non-certified staff such as cooks, bus drivers, paraprofessionals and others. These seasonal workers will be called back in order of seniority.

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