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Immunization requirements could exclude students from DPS

Dickinson Public School District Superintendent Doug Sullivan said state immunization requirements have him concerned that some students may be forced to be excluded from school.

Dickinson Public School District Superintendent Doug Sullivan said state immunization requirements have him concerned that some students may be forced to be excluded from school.
Sullivan relayed the information originally presented at the North Dakota School Boards Association Convention in October during a district school board meeting Monday night at the Central Administration Office.
“I’m not the only superintendent in the state that was concerned by the information that was presented at that discussion,” Sullivan said.
He added that he had been in conversations with similar-minded superintendents from the Grand Forks, Fargo and Mandan school districts about how to communicate with state legislators and other administrators about “the complications that are being created at school districts” around current immunization policies.
Sullivan said the district has contracted with Southwestern District Health Unit and estimated there were 399 students in DPS who may not have updated immunization records, the “vast majority” of whom are in high school and may not need as full a roster of immunizations as younger students.
In the meantime, he said, the district’s liaison with Southwestern District Health Unit will help in contacting students’ parents and proceed with obtaining the necessary immunizations.
DPS would take an “active approach” to preventing the exclusion of students but that may be an unavoidable outcome, Sullivan said.
“Depending on what happens over the course of the next few weeks, it may become necessary for this school district to tell students that they are not allowed to return to school until they have started their series of immunizations,” Sullivan said.
Board approves audit report of 2014-15 finances
The district counted about $55.7 million in total assets and $47.2 million in total liabilities in fiscal year 2015, according to an audit report approved by the school board.
Board members voted to affirm the report, delivered by James Wosepka, a certified public accountant from Beach, at their Monday night meeting at the district’s Central Administration Office.
The district’s general fund revenues, as stated in the report, increased by approximately $4.28 million, an increase of slightly more than 12 percent that caused revenues for 2014-15 to be a little over 2 percent higher than budgeted.
That growth in revenue was paired with an almost 22 percent increase in general fund expenditures, which amounted to a rise of nearly $7 million.
According to the report, most of that increase was due to money transfers from the general fund to other accounts, including one transfer to capital projects for construction of the new wing at Prairie Rose Elementary School and another to the food services fund for deficit recovery.
Another expenditure noted in the report was the $1.35 million purchase of land for the new middle school being constructed on the northwest side of Dickinson.
The total expenditures were within 1 percent of the approved budget amount.
Alternative Dickinson high school at full capacity
Enrollment at Southwest Community High School, the DPS alternative high school, is at 23 students from Dickinson and the surrounding area.
SCHS Principal Kristy Goodall told the board Monday night that her school was at its enrollment limit due to staffing and capacity restrictions and has a wait list of 16 prospective students.
Students at SCHS have a “variety of risk factors,” Goodall said, including the potential of dropping out due to loss of credits, are parents, or otherwise do not fit into the “traditional high school mode.”
To date, the school has had a 2015 enrollment of 29 students who have earned a total of 32 credits.
Of those 29 students, around five were single parents and five were living on their own.
Absenteeism at the school at this point stands at 13.6 percent, Goodall said.
Two students have graduated from the school in the current year, two have transferred and two have gone on to pursue a GED.
“So far, the courses by subject area, we have been able to finish 20 math and science classes, 18 social studies and 16 language arts classes,” Goodall said.
Haffner is a reporter at The Press. Contact him at 701-456-1206 or follow him on Twitter at ahaffner1.

Related Topics: DICKINSONDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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