Hinckley Elementary receives VPK grant

September 22, 2017

At their regular September meeting, the Hinckley-Finlayson (HF) School Board decided to approve the maximum preliminary levy. According to Superintendent Rob Prater, the board needed to take action on the levy by September 30. “ISD (Independent School District) 2165, along with almost every district in Minnesota, typically accepts the maximum levy in September,” Prater wrote in his report.


Last year the preliminary levy was $2,117,451; the final approved levy was $2,029,829. This year the current maximum levy is at $1,817,884.74. Prater said he expects this number to change somewhere between “one and 10 times” between now and December.


If the district were to approve a smaller levy, the number could not be increased.


Courses through Pine Tech


According to High School Principal Brian Masterson, Hinckley-Finlayson High School (HFHS) had budgeted for an emergency medical technician (EMT) class which would include a teacher from Pine Technical & Community College coming to HFHS to teach the course. Since then, some students have decided not to take the class; only two students are currently interested. The district’s cost for two students would be expensive. 


East Central School has offered to share their program with HFHS. One student has opted for this; the cost for the one student will be around $1,000 which is much less than if HFHS were to offer it. The second student will look into taking the class in the spring as their fall schedule didn’t allow for the class at the time.


Masterson also told the board two students asked if they could take a drone pilots prep program through Pine Tech. Masterson told the board Pine Tech gave them a deal on the second student, about half price, and asked the board for their approval.


Board member Steve Grinsteinner questioned the drone program, asking what kind of educational value there was or was it just for “personal gain.” Masterson said both of the students are looking to do something like this in their futures. He said their parents have looked into it and found out there are even “some local companies that are hiring drone pilots to look at crops or land.”


For all three students the price would be approximately $4,000; they had budgeted $12,000 for the EMT program.

The board approved both the EMT class at East Central and the drone class at Pine Tech.


Voluntary pre-kindergarten


Elementary Principal Jeff Wilson told the board about a Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) grant awarded to Hinckley Elementary. This will allow the Hinckley Elementary to offer a full day VPK option and would provide opportunities for providing food and transportation, Wilson explained. 


Prater said 60 percent of parents have chosen the full day option; 20 percent would like a half day and 20 percent are on the fence. He said if they can work with the Little Lambs schedule so they don’t run the same days, it looks like some parents would utilize both programs. 


This grant doesn’t cover the pre-kindergarten program at Finlayson even though they are in the same district, as they didn’t qualify. School board member Leo Irlbeck asked if Finlayson students will have the option of attending the Hinckley program. Wilson explained they would have the option. 


Tentatively, it looks like there will be two sections of half day and two sections of full day voluntary pre-kindergarten offered. A full recommendation will be presented at the October meeting.

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