Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 23-12-2016

During the Christmas season we all know about the role of Santa Clause.  He is the man bringing the presents to all the good little girls and boys.  Behind him are some exceptional characters, the elves.  Without the elves Santa would not be able to have all the gifts to put in those stockings around the world.   At school, the work of education is obviously Santa, it dominates the building.  But, we also have elves and I want to give them some credit.

Each and every day, behind the scenes, our four elves (Dennis, Steve, Dan & Jewel) keep Ellendale School comfortable, clean, and functioning properly.  Some have asked during our budget cutting discussions, why not cut out one custodian.   I believe all areas are open for discussion.  However, I don’t know if everyone appreciates what these four people do.

  • Each and every day our custodial elves clean 65,000+ sq ft. (total school is 87,391 sq ft).  That equates to 16,250 sq ft per custodian, per day.  Most homes are 2,000 to 3,000 sq ft so that is like cleaning your home nearly five times, every day!
  • They clean 13 urinals, 40 toilets, 55 sinks, and 24 showers, every day.
  • They fill countless paper and toilet paper rolls.
  • They scrub the MPR every day along with entrance ways during wet parts of the year.
  • Hallways are swept every day but are also scrubbed and burnished one time a week.
  • Sport floors receive a dry mopping once or twice daily, then a wet towel treatment once a day along with weekly scrubbing.
  • Windows are part of the weekly routine but when is the last time you saw hand prints on an entry door in the morning? You don’t because our elves wash them once a day.
  • Our elves fix door closers, water heaters, desks, leaky faucets, door latches, lights, boilers, and pretty much everything an elf can handle.
  • During winter weather they are responsible to move snow off of nearly a 1/3 of mile of sidewalk, 30+ parking spots, and 17 doorways.

The list could keep going on and on but I think you get the picture.  These elves are MAGIC!  However, don’t forget the little miracles they provide during concerts, sporting events, or community events.  Concerts require them to be experts in engineering and sound system setup.  Sporting events require sound and music systems, clean seats, trash collection, and team logistics all under the scrutiny of thousands of eyes.  Finally, many do not realize how many community events our elves help provide.  These events range from dance, taekwondo, DRN banquets, post-prom parties, meetings, and more.

The next time you have the opportunity to visit another school look around.  Look at the floors, the sinks, gym floors, look up and down.  When I do this, I leave thankful for the efforts of these four exceptional people.  It also reaffirms my view there is no way we can provide the service to this community facility, that it deserves, without them.20150804_095825

Merry Christmas & a huge THANK YOU to our elves!
Thank you – Jewel, Dennis, Dan & Steve

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 16-12-2016

The Ellendale School Board on Tuesday took action on a proposal to add women’s fast pitch softball.  The Board had been approached about adding the sport in late summer, so it creating an ad-hoc committee to research the program.  During, the past few months the committee & Mr. Matt Herman A.D. looked at the requirements of the program, start up costs, gathered interest of students, and interest in coops with other schools.  During this same time the Board has been working on budget cutting options due to declining enrollment, as shared in a previous post.  It was these budget cutting needs that eventually drove the committee to decide on Tuesday to not approve fast-pitch for the upcoming year.  The ad-hoc committee, chaired by Mrs. Kinzler, indicated the committee did not feel they could responsibly add a program while having to cut other programs in the district.  They did indicated that it could be an option in the future but it would not be recommended at this time.



Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Jeff Fastnacht on 09-12-2016
MIKE McCLEARY/Bismarck Tribune Governor Jack Dalrymple gives his Budget Address to members of the North Dakota legislators and the public in the House chamber Wednesday morning 12-3-2014 at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

Governor Jack Dalrymple

With the kick off of the session this past Wednesday we saw the release of the Governor’s budget for the next two years.  His 2017-2019 Executive State Budget can be found on the OMB web site at The news has been bleak for state agencies for over the past year and this budget continues to paint a similar picture.  Little to no new funding will be coming to Ellendale Public School to reduce the financial pressures that I have shared previously.  Here are some specifics:

  • Foundation Aid – the formula for year one will remain at the $9,646 that was in place this past year.  The second year it will increase 1% to $9,742, a total of $96.00.  Based on our present foundation aid formula (Total Weighted Student Units = 413.07) that would be an increase of $39,654 the second year of the biennium.
  • Transportation Funding – this will be cut by $5.7 million at the state level.  This equates to a 10% reduction at the state level for both years.  This year Ellendale receives $168,899 in transportation funding.  Based on the Governor’s budget recommendation we should see an approximate cut of $16,889, per year.  Over two years that is a reduction of $33,798 and pretty much eats up all the gains in the second year of the foundation formula.
  • Career & Tech Ed – The Governor’s budget has about 8.7% in cuts to that entire department.  The grants for school, which we all receive to offset costs for Tech Ed, Office Ed, FCS, Health Careers, and other CTE programs is shown a cut of 8%.  The past year Ellendale School received $37,436 in funding from CTE for the courses provided at Ellendale High School.  This does not include state support for courses received through the SE Vocational Center.  An 8% reduction in these funds equates to another $2,994 in reduced funding per year.

When you look at the gains ($39,654) and then subtract the reductions ($33,798 + $5,989 = $39,787) that is about as a close to a net zero wash as you can get.  The Governor’s Executive Budget request could be changed by the Legislature during the session, however I am not holding my breath.  If I had to bet I would expect more cuts being made to this budget by the assembly.  We are not going to see many positive changes in my view.

The nearly $300,000 Ellendale needs to cut in our own budget, due to declining enrollment this yea,r is not going to get a reprieve from Bismarck.  Getting our budget to balance will take continued tough decisions, many of them cutting programs and resources we have become accustom to having.  There will be no easy decisions and as I have said before the Board and Administration are considering all options – GREAT and small!