Dickinson Public Schools may step away from RESP

The Dickinson Public School Board is considering leaving the Roughrider Education Services Program because it feels the two are no longer aligned in their approaches to meeting a common goal.

School Board meeting
Press Photo by Lisa Miller Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Doug Sullivan, along with board members Leslie Ross and Rebecca Pitkin (pictured) listen as Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep discusses the financial portion of a report on the relationship between the Roughrider Education Services Program and Dickinson Public Schools at a meeting Monday at Central Office.

The Dickinson Public School Board is considering leaving the Roughrider Education Services Program because it feels the two are no longer aligned in their approaches to meeting a common goal.

The board presented its reasoning along with a report of the relationship at its Monday meeting at Central Office.

RESP are a group of schools in southwestern North Dakota with a goal to provide enhanced educational services for students and educators.

Superintendent Doug Sullivan said DPS is entertaining the idea for four main reasons.

- DPS feels that Dickinson Catholic Schools receive a benefit no other schools receive because they don't pay as much in per-student fees as the others do.


- DPS believes RESP policies need to be applied to all schools uniformly.

- DPS questions whether its membership is valued.

- DPS feels it could provide many of the services RESP offers for both students and teachers.

Board Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep, Director of Instruction Melanie Kathrein and Sullivan compiled information regarding the relationship at the School Board's request "and found that while our mission of helping students succeed coincides, in recent years the way in which we approach that goal differs," Sullivan said.

The four discrepancies create frustration as DPS attempts to comply with legislative requirements about regional education associations and joint powers agreements and teacher support programs.

Proposed legislation, Senate Bill 2150, may eliminate some of the frustration if it passes. Dickinson Public Schools would no longer be required to participate in RESP activities unless the district decided to pay for those activities.

The five DPS Board members decided to discuss their concerns with RESP representatives at an upcoming meeting and will decide whether to remain a member at a special meeting to be announced at a later date.

In other business:


r The board set March 1 as the deadline for the second superintendent evaluation. Board President Kris Fehr said the evaluation is required by law.

"The difference between this one and the one held last semester is that Superintendent Sullivan will not be able to comment on it," Fehr said. "It is also to see if he has worked on the concerns brought up during the first evaluation.

Sullivan received a satisfactory rating last semester.

- DPS accepted bids for two buses: A 14-passenger worth $49,025 and a 65-passenger worth $78,706.

- The board accepted the following early resignation/retirement incentive applications: Cheryl Grossman, second grade teacher at Heart River (43 years); Paulette Huber, music teacher at Heart River (35 years); Louisette Zeller, district-wide art instructor (11 years); Mary Helfrich, speech pathologist at Jefferson (28 years); Elaine Lindemann, special services instructor at Dickinson High School (32 years); Janice Ostdahl, special services instructor at DHS (23 years); and Karen Thompson, special services instructor at DHS (20 years).

Board member Leslie Ross said she accepted the resignations and retirements with "deep regret, as the district will be losing some of its finest, not to mention years of experience."

No members of the public attended Monday's meeting.

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