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The Menomonie area school board approved two measures at its bi-annual meeting Monday after learning of a $213,000 budget surplus.

Some of the additional funds will be going directly to teachers in hopes to better the classroom learning experience throughout the district.

A measure to provide each classroom in the district with $100 additional dollars was approved unanimously during the meeting Monday. The intention is for the money to be used by the teachers for in-classroom supplies and resources so instructors do not have to buy any supplies for their lessons out-of-pocket.

District administrator Joe Zydowsky said the decision to put the measure up for a vote so quickly is for the funds to be used as quickly as possible, as the classrooms and the instructors desperately need it.

“We are recommending that the board move forward with this budget change,” Zydowsky said. “When our teachers come back to school we want them to be able to make those purchases and get the most effective use out of them right away from the start of the school year.”

School board president Amy Riddle-Swanson echoed Zydowsky’s praise of the measure as she said the community has rallied behind the classroom aid on multiple mediums.

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“I’d just like to say that this is a huge thing, because I saw that through social media and the news in general that this is something teachers really appreciate,” Riddle-Swanson said. “You’ve probably seen people that’ve donated money to the teachers so they can buy supplies, because teachers take money out of their own pockets a lot of the time to buy supplies. So, I think this is great for our staff and our schools.”

In addition to money going directly to existing school faculty, more staffing positions were approved Monday in accordance with the $213,000 surplus.

Zydowsky said interested parties can now apply for an additional academic intervention specialist position, five elementary science Olympiad coaches and a three-hour food service position at River Heights Elementary school. Zydowsky said the ideas for the new positions didn’t come directly from the school board or just the academic administration.

“When we got the estimate we sent a message out to all of our staff to see what they thought we needed,” Zydowsky said. “Most of the items that were approved tonight came directly from our staff. We really appreciate that.”

Now that the additional funds and positions measures have been approved, if there is any surplus of money left over from the $213,000 the board and academic parties can apply for additional requests after the September pupil count has been completed and more clarity of what the district requires for their current needs are identified.

The next Menomonie school board meeting is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26.

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