Local News

Dancers in headdress and native costumes entertain the crowd at a Celebration of Multilingualism at Falcon Ridge Middle School on May 4.

School board approves capital spending budget

​     With little discussion, the District 196 school board approved a multi-million-dollar capital expenditure budget for schools throughout the district at its April 24 meeting.
      The capital expenditure budget is part of the total annual cost of operating schools in the district. It is released before the district’s operating budget because of the need for extra time to execute contracts for construction and the purchase of materials. Many of the projects are installed during the summer, while schools are out of session.
      The 84-page budget details millions of dollars of spending on school building improvements and maintenance, leases, ice-rink rentals, technology purchases and textbooks for the district’s 27,000 or so students.
      The budget includes $8,625,000 for long-term facilities maintenance. It also includes $302,000 to replace the district’s storage area network (SAN), and $150,000 for band instruments.
      The budget also includes about $3.75 million in facilities leases, which includes $250,000 for ice time rental.
      Textbooks and curriculum materials account for about $2.7 million of the budget.
      The district included $200,000 in the budget for unplanned expenses.         

​  ​Special services provided to some District 196 families
   School district 196 has hired a team of staff to provide special services to Muslims and minority students, according to a presentation at its recent board meeting.
   Much of the work is performed outside of school hours and services are provided not to students, but to their family members, according to program staff. There was no mention of the cost of the program, which employs several staff members, during the presentation.
   Among the services provided are interpreting documents from foreign schools, assistance with college financial aid applications, and family engagement to “make [families] feel comfortable and part of the school.”
   No similar services are provided for new non-Muslim or non-minority families entering the school district.
   School officials noted the increasing number of countries represented in the district.
   “We aren’t all Norwegians anymore, that’s for sure,” School District 196 board member Bob Schutte said at the meeting.