Mahtomedi school officials plan to make good on promises to lay out the cuts that could be made if voters reject a request for additional operating revenues this fall.

Last November, the district had been one of the few in the state to see a levy proposal defeated.

Two community meetings have been set for the coming weeks. On April 15, the district plans to discuss and take comments on potential cuts for the 2015-16 school year. Then, on May 6, information will be provided about the levy proposal headed for this November's ballot. Both meetings will start at 7 p.m. at Wildwood Elementary School in Grant.

This year's proposal will be a high-stakes proposition because the district's operating levy is set to expire. Last year, officials decided to take the issue to voters a year early — seeking an additional $330 per student in funding — in an effort to avoid another round of budget cuts.

After last year's defeat, Superintendent Mark Larson pledged to improve district communications, including making clear what will be on the line if this fall's ballot proposal is rejected.

A recent community forum included details about the district's experiences with open enrollment. This year, 30 percent of its students live outside the district.

District 622

District lengthens day to make up lost time

The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District voted to temporarily extend the school day to help make up for the six days of classes canceled earlier this year due to extremely cold temperatures.

Students in grades K-12 will be let out nine minutes later every day through May 28, school officials announced on the district website. The school board voted on March 25 to approve the extension, which went into effect on April 1.

Extending the school day would allow the district to regain six hours of instructional time without having to lengthen the school year into the second week of June, the district said in the online statement.

"This will also mean that students who ride the bus home will get dropped off about nine minutes later," the statement said.

The district previously converted two staff development and/or conference days into school days.

Anticipating criticism, officials admitted that the plan "is not a perfect solution," but that it was the best option available to meet the state's requirement of 1,020 classroom hours per year.


Local orchestras get 'superior' rankings

Four Stillwater area junior high orchestras were recognized last month at the Minnesota String and Orchestra Teachers Association Middle Level Orchestra Festival.

Orchestras from Oak-Land and Stillwater junior highs were among nine orchestras to receive "Superior with Distinction" ratings at the annual festival, which recognizes top young ensembles from around the state.

The four orchestras were the Camerata and Novella orchestras from Stillwater Junior High — under the direction of Kent Musser — and the Spiritoso and Scherzando orchestras from Oak-Land Junior High — under the direction of Julie Vanderstappen.

Being ranked as "superior" qualified the orchestras for Tier 2 competition as well as an immersive Orchestra Hall event that included coaching sessions from Minnesota Orchestra members and a private rehearsal and performance on the Orchestra Hall stage.

This year marked the 10th consecutive year that a Stillwater Area Public Schools orchestra has been recognized at the competition, the district said.

Anthony Lonetree, Libor Jany