The St. Ansgar school board met for their regular meeting Monday, here are some highlights from the meeting:

Tackling Daycare

The board discussed implementing before and after school programs to aid with the daycare shortage that plagues Mitchell County.

Currently, the waitlists to get into local daycares seem endless, and many parents are left scrambling whenever they need supervision for their young children.

A couple of trends factor into this. One, kids tend to be a little older when they start staying home alone now. And second, there’s been a drop in the number of in-home daycares in St. Ansgar.

Wee Saints Day Care in St. Ansgar, for example, is constantly at capacity.

“In a perfect world, we’d have a whole other building attached here and enough staff to cover it,” Rose Minnis of Wee Saints Day Care told the EJ. “[Lack of space] is probably the biggest need in Mitchell County, probably for all the daycares. It’s a huge need.“

The school discussed starting a program that could run from 6:00 or 6:30 until school starts, and again after school until 5:30 or 6:00. This program through the school would be an alternative for parents who are unable to get their children into daycares like Wee Saints.

School officials are drafting a survey for parents of young kids, to better understand what the needs the community has.

Lower Enrollment

The enrollment numbers for St. Ansgar were announced Monday, and the district’s enrollment has dropped by 16 from the previous year.

  “Enrollment is a driving force for funding so as we see a decline we must adjust accordingly,” said Steven Groth, School Board President.  “Our goal is to continue to provide the highest quality of education for the St. Ansgar Community School District.”

The exact numbers in October 2018 were 577.7 and October 2017  were 594.3.

Sharing Resources with other schools.

The board also discussed opening up dialogue with Northwood-Kensett and Central Springs school districts about potential sharing options for the superintendent position.

“As state funding has tightened in all aspects, education is no different.  Our annual increase of state supplemental aid will be minimal, but in return, the state is giving smaller rural districts some tools to work with,” Groth said. “One of those tools would be a sharing agreement with other districts for a required position.  We currently share 3 positions that return $101,355 to the district, using 15 of the 21 adjusted weighting credits available.“

The state allows for 21 total weighted credits, and each point is worth about $6,700.

The three positions are currently the transportation director, human resources director, and maintenance director.

This year the district will also receive a one time funding of $132,840 in transportation equity funding.

“To be fiscally responsible, we will continue to make use of all the tools available when we can,” Groth said.

New eSports Team

The board voted to approve the startup of an eSports team for St. Ansgar, which will be coached by teachers Randy Mogk and Brian Birkedal.

A form of online, eSports are competitive video games. They’re quite popular at the college-level, and like athletic sports, there are even scholarships available.

Birkedahl said the club will offer students a chance to participate in something most other kids would have to wait till college to try.

One of the first games they are looking at trying is “League of Legends”, a multiplayer online battle arena game.

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