The Bowman County School District has a new superintendent, and he is already sharing his new ideas and what he thinks about teachers.
During a recent school board meeting, associate superintendent Steve Brannan pitched the idea of the school board creating a student loan debt relief fund for teachers in the district.
“My goal then is to raise some dollars ,so that every teacher that has student loan debt will get some type of honorarium towards that debt, ” said Brannan.
The school board unanimously approved the motion to create a fund, and Brannan said he would like to raise $10,000 to $12,000 with help from the community and have the school board match the amount.
“The support we are getting from the administration and the community it makes me feel better about where I am at,” said Cora Nasset, Bowman County School District teacher.
Nasset said she graduated from Bowman High School, and she likes the idea of teaching close to home.
She also said student loan debt can be “stressor”, and she has had to work part -time jobs in the Summer to help pay it off.
Brannan said it is important for small rural schools like Bowman County to be able to retain its teachers.
The school district has more than 400 students, and a little more than 40 teachers.
Teachers sometime leave rural schools for better paying jobs in bigger cities, but Brannan hopes the new program will help the district retain its instructors.
The North Dakota University System offers a student loan forgiveness program to help rural schools retain teachers, but not all the teachers in the Bowman County School District with debt can take part in it.
Brannan said no more than two teachers per year in a district can participate in the NDUS program, and participants are eligible up to a maximum of four years.
He said the school district has about ten teachers that he knows of that are facing the burden of student debt, and even though the district’s program is still in the very early stages he would like to see teachers be eligible for forgiveness as long as they work in the district.
Brannan said no money has been raised yet for the district’s student debt relief fund for teachers, and the program will be discussed again at the next school board meeting on September 12th.
After School Program
The parents of Bowman County have spoken, and they would like to see an after school program for children.
During a survey in 2015 conducted by Bowman Parks and Recreation, 68 percent of parents said they would like to see an after school program for kids.
Parents in the area are concerned about their kids being home alone unsupervised while they are at work.
Now Bowman Parks and Recreation and Bowman County School District are working together on a program for the kids K-6th grade.
The program would allow kids to stay in the commons room at Bowman Elementary until their parents get off from work, and during that time they can have fun with their friends or study.
“You know they are going to get a good snack. . . they are going to have some activity time. . . they are going to concentrate on getting some homework done, ” said Chanell Walby, Director of Bowman Parks and Recreation.
Walby said the the program would probably consist of 30 kids who would be allowed to stay in the commons room from when school ends at 3:20 p.m. until 5:00 -5:30 p.m.
She also said the program will probably be four days a week and run parents $10 a day, but families in-need would be eligible for assistance,
Walby said she would like to start the program sometime this Fall, but first they have to work on funding and hiring staff for the program.