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WDC board addresses bus, lunch, custodial changes

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The Wadena-Deer Creek board addressed after-school busing and custodial schedules Monday in their August meeting at the elementary media center.

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The board approved an after-school bus program for the first quarter of the school year, which ends on Nov. 6. Up to three buses will be provided for athletes and for kids in Boosters. The cost of the busing program for the entire year would be around $40,000, said Virginia Dahlstrom, Wadena-Deer Creek superintendent. After-school buses would take on riders beginning at 5 or 5:15 p.m.

WDC Transportation Director Tim Wohlert said the district began providing units for after-school busing halfway through the 2011-2012 school year. Buses ran Monday through Thursday and took students right to their homes.

"We had pretty good ridership," Wohlert said.

Dahlstrom believes the greatest benefit of an after-school busing program will be for the Boosters - kids who need extra help with their studies.

"It's the ability for kids to have tutoring after school and also access to technology," Dahlstrom said.

Also, WDC High School and Middle School Head Custodian Curt Rentz presented the board with a tentative work schedule and pointed out cleaning demands in the new school will be greater than they were in the old school, which was destroyed in by a tornado that moved through Wadena in 2010.

"I know that the building was put out as what would be low maintenance, but it's kind of the opposite," Rentz said. "When you've got five different (types of) floors, you've got five different ways you have to take care of them."

Rentz added that cleaning duties in the school would be more time-consuming because there are two floors in the new secondary facility.

The board approved two more hours for custodial work.

"Curt is a perfectionist," Dahlstrom said. "Curt and his staff have worked very, very hard in the past to keep the building over there beautiful."

Additionally, Food Service Director Sandie Rentz informed the board of a significant change in WDC school lunches for the coming year. The federally-mandated Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act will put more fruits and vegetables on the menu but less protein and bread.

"Before we had a minimum and maximum amount of food that we gave them, Rentz said. "Now we have a minimum and maximum amount of calories, protein and bread."

The menu will be defined by grade levels. Students in grades K-5 will receive 550-650 calories in their school lunch, while 6-8 graders receive 600-700 calories and 9-12 graders 750-800 calories.

Students were not required to take fruits or vegetables under the old guidelines, but will now be required to take at least half a cup of fruits or vegetables.

"My concern is that kids who don't take the fruits and vegetables they are allotted won't be getting enough to eat," Rentz said.

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