The largest increase will be seen at the elementary school level.
Robert Schwarz of RSP and Associates, based in Overland Park, Kan., said he expects the district will see “some sort of recouping of some of the students we lost” this year due to the pandemic, in part because some parents chose to homeschool their students.
“This will continue to be a growing school district,” Schwarz said.
Jody Thompson, associate superintendent of elementary education, said the district is targeting families that have not traditionally home-schooled their students in an attempt to bring them back into the district’s schools at all levels.
About 60 of the 93 students who fall into that category are planning to return to Grand Forks schools next year, Thompson said.
In the next five to 10 years, most new housing is likely to occur on the city’s south side and more houses could be built on the northwest side of town, in an area south and southeast of Wal-mart, according to Schwarz’s demographic report.
The board also approved the negotiated contract agreement for principals and associate principals for July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. The agreement calls for no increases in salary, aside from that which is already built into the schedule for years of experience. The average salary increase in steps is 2.35% for each additional year of experience, said Scott Berge, the district’s business manager.
For this group, however, an additional step for experience was added to the salary schedule, which represents a 2.35% salary increase.
It also approved a salary increase for classified personnel of 0.5% for year one and 0.75% for year two for each cell in the salary schedule, which is the same that teachers received in contract negotiations early this spring, Berge said.
With the 2% that is built into the steps of the salary schedule, this averages out to a 2.44% increase for year one and a 2.69% increase for year two, he said.
In other action, the board:
Approved the appointment of Elissa Diederich as executive director of special education. Diederich, who has been serving as associate principal at Lake Agassiz Elementary School, is on target to complete her doctoral degree in August, said Superintendent Terry Brenner. Her salary will be $122,592 but could be adjusted based on bargaining underway between the Grand Forks Directors Association and the School Board, Brenner said. Her appointment is effective July 1.
Approved the appointment of Chad Kurtyka as associate principal of Discovery Elementary School. He is an instructional design coach at Phoenix Elementary School. His salary is set at $81,686. His appointment is effective July 1.
Approved the appointment of Anthony Vandal as associate principal of Lake Agassiz Elementary School. Vandal, director of education for the Williston Public School District, has been hired at a salary of $92,490. His appointment is effective July 1.
Congratulated and thanked Thompson for 33 years of service to the Grand Forks school system, which began in 1988 when he was hired as a fourth-grade teacher at Carl Ben Eielson Elementary School at Grand Forks Air Force Base. Board Vice President Eric Lunn detailed the many roles Thompson has played and summarized his contributions to education and support programs for students, and presented him with a plaque. Thompson, who is retiring as of June 30, said “it has been a privilege and an honor to serve” in the Grand Forks school system.