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Verndale board focuses on academics

The Verndale school board has decided that academic performance will at the top of the list of Verndale district goals for the 2009-10 school year.

"They want to make that the focus of everything," Verndale Superintendent Paul Brownlow said.

The Verndale board heard test score results at its July 27 meeting which indicated the school needed to improve academically in some areas, most notably, elementary special education. The federal government's No Child Left Behind program has mandated that 100 percent of students in the United States by proficient in reading and math by 2014.

Brownlow will also look into ways to offer an after school program to students. The grant which funded the school's popular PEP after school program has expired but the board would like to continue offering students the option of staying at the school until their parents come home from work. Between 60-65 students took advantage of the PEP program last year.

Food costs will be going up approximately 15 percent this year and school breakfast and lunch prices will increase. Breakfasts for students will cost 75 cents while breakfasts for adults will go from $1.40 to $1.60. Lunch for K-6 student will go from $1.35 to $1.45 while lunch prices for grades 7-12 will rise from $1.50 to $1.60.

The board tabled a decision to approve a school district insurance carrier until their Aug. 24 meeting. Lake Country Insurance is the school's current insurance representative.