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Cloquet invests in new industrial technology

The Cloquet School Board voted to spend just over $147,000 to fund the new Industrial Technology Department at its Monday night meeting. Most of the costs have to do with purchase of technology, with the largest line item being $28,000 for 25 new...

The Cloquet School Board voted to spend just over $147,000 to fund the new Industrial Technology Department at its Monday night meeting.

Most of the costs have to do with purchase of technology, with the largest line item being $28,000 for 25 new computers to run new and updated software.

CHS Principal Warren Peterson said he was heartened by what he believes will be the new program's quality relative to other districts.

"In looking around, lots of other places are cutting back on their programs or don't have the technology that we hope to have," he told the board. "My thought is that the district might attract students who are looking for a better experience in this field."

Peterson also updated the board on the process of hiring instructors, noting that many qualified applicants have already expressed interest.

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"I'm very pleased with the quality of people we have applying," Peterson added.

The program's department budget for next year is $12,000, but the vast majority of the money authorized at Monday's meeting will go to setup costs.

Peterson's prioritized list also included $4,500 for a new version of the "Chief Architect" software, software updates for AutoCAD programs, an update to the latest version of Adobe Photoshop software, textbooks and multi-process welders.

The board also considered a proposal from Superintendent Ken Scarbrough to raise the curriculum budget by $50,000 for the coming year. Presently, the district's budget in this area is $150,000.

"At 2,400 students, this is only about $62 a student," Scarbrough said in a memorandum to the board. "This is far less than the cost of a single textbook. My goal is eventually to budget $100 per student per year for our curriculum budget."

In other actions, the board:

+ Met in closed session to receive an update on negotiations with the Education Minnesota teachers' union. Scarbrough said prior to the meeting that he felt negotiations were going very well with free exchange of ideas and views between the teachers and administration.

+ Voted to revise the school calendar to reflect the four days lost to snow this year. The measure passed 4-1 with Duane Buytaert voting nay and Ted Lammi absent. Buytaert said he voted no due to already having cut so many student contact days from the calendar during the current year.

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+ Tabled a resolution that would have presented a new high-deductible insurance plan to certain district employees who would have to receive an offer of health insurance under new federal health care regulations. Scarbrough said he wanted legal opinions before formally making the presentation, and added that the district needs to make decisions on cutting hours of certain staff. Many businesses nationwide are cutting certain employees' hours to 29 per week to avoid federal regulations requiring employees working 30 hours per week and meeting certain income thresholds to be offered coverage.

Related Topics: CLOQUETEDUCATION
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