Senior receives four-year scholarship
Contrary to superstition, Friday the 13th of March was quite a lucky day for Burnsville High School senior Libin Said.
On that day, Said had a surprise visitor who announced that she had received a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the University of St. Thomas.
She is one of 14 students out of 300 applicants chosen to receive the Dease Scholarship, a scholarship initiated to increase access to St. Thomas for historically underrepresented students. This year, scholarship applicants answered a question focused on what the scholarship would mean to them and how they would celebrate diversity while promoting the common good.
Said is the daughter of a single mother who is a Somali immigrant and also disabled, so she wasn’t sure she was going to go to college. No one in her family had ever gone. She is also a volunteer at the hospital, her mosque and her apartment building.
Farmington finalizes budget cut
After several community meetings, the Farmington district has finalized a number of cuts to the 2015-16 general fund budget.
In all, the budget was reduced by about $640,000, and includes $320,000 in new funds to be generated through various sources.
The largest reductions call for class size increases: one more student per class in grades two, three, four and five, as well as high school. Administrative positions will be reorganized and middle school athletics will be restructured. Some sports are moving to the high school, others will be offered through community education and some will be combined with teams at the other middle school.
Four flexible learning days will be added to the calendar, with students learning from home on their iPads. That will save about $73,000 in transportation and other costs.
In addition, the district plans to increase revenue through extra parking and athletic fees and selling the District Service Center.
Two controversial items considered for cuts — fifth grade band and busing to-and-from athletic games — were spared for the 2015-16 school year. The school board will pass a final budget in June which will include these changes.
New elementary ed director named
District 196 has chosen a new director of elementary education. Echo Park Elementary School Principal Sally Soliday will take on the role at the end of the school year, after current director Julie Olson retires. Soliday started in the district in 1980, teaching elementary school, and has been principal at Echo Park since 1997. Olson has spent 38 years in the district, the last 11 as elementary education director.