DPS expects more growth
Dickinson Public Schools expect to have a total student body of nearly 3,500 students at the beginning of next school year, an 8 percent increase and up about 300 from Saturday’s enrollment number.
At a meeting of the Dickinson Public School Board Budget Committee on Wednesday morning at the Central Administration Building, administrators warned the committee that they intend to increase hiring efforts to help accommodate the growth in the district.
“Hiring season has begun,” Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep said. “It, at this point, doesn’t look as tough as last year, but I’ve been in the business long enough to know that we’ll still have openings that will come available.”
Many of the new positions the school was planning for the 2014-15 school year have been filled, and administrators continue recruiting efforts, Reep said. Early resignations needed to be turned in by Saturday, but more resignations could come in the following months.
“I think there’s been a paradigm shift in the employment sector in this part of the world, where you start hiring in February. Where, if you don’t, everyone else is getting those teachers,” Reep said.
Superintendent Doug Sullivan and Reep also discussed the possibility of adding more English language learning and special education teachers and paraprofessionals.
The district wants to take advantage of a University of North Dakota resident teacher program which puts students working toward their special education certification in Dickinson classrooms to gain experience and credits for tuition paid for by the district, Sullivan said.
“They’re not our employee, but they’re working in our building and we just pay the University of North Dakota tuition,” Reep said. “It’s like having a teacher in our building but we’re not paying them benefits or salary, and they’re learning.”
DPS has hired resident teachers after certification completion to replace retiring teachers in the past, Sullivan said.
Sullivan and Reep addressed the Dickinson City Commission on Monday with the State of the School address, filling in commissioners about some of the challenges — such as hiring — and opportunities facing the district.
There could be an extra $1.7 million in state aid coming to DPS, Reep said.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction-calculated state aid formula had nearly $2 million that Reep’s calculations did not.
“On his spreadsheet there’s a new line, line 47, that says ‘maximum contribution increase adjustment,’ and then there’s a Century Code reference,” Reep said. “I’ll have to read that code, I was not aware that there’s a new code written into the second year of the biennium.”
If the calculation is correct, it would put less pressure on DPS’s budget as it adds teaching staff to cope with student growth.
“It doesn’t surprise me that something comes up — maybe an unintended or intended — circumstance,” committee chairwoman Leslie Ross said.