Windom Area Schools is barely into the second semester of the 2021-22 school year and the Windom School Board is already considering staffing needs for 2022-23.
But there’s good reason.
The district may be in need of as many as 2.75 full-time equivalent staff for the next school year. And those staffing needs could cost the district between $180,000 and $200,000.
One of the major changes coming in 2022-23 is in the school’s music department. In 1998, the district had 5.0 FTE instructors in grades K-12. Presently, the music department has just 3.75 FTE.
Superintendent Wayne Wormstadt told the board that this is the one department the district has not increased during his 14 years in Windom despite the fact that Windom’s enrollment has significantly increased in that time. That leads to more sections at each grade level and a larger choir, which has split from grades 9-12 to a 9-10 choir and an 11-12 Eagle Concert Choir.
Moreover, there is a need for more individual lessons.
Likewise, the current band program needs additional lesson support. With Jim Axford retiring at the end of the school year, Wormstadt is proposing adding another FTE music instructor, bringing the music department back to 5.0 FTE teachers in grades K-12.
That would give the music department full-time band and choir instructors at the middle high school, as well as two FTE elementary music teachers. A fifth hire would float between middle high school band and choir.
It also allows for better scheduling. Because teachers had to float between the middle high school and elementary, scheduling was difficult. Either the middle high school schedule was at the mercy of the elementary or vice versa. With the addition, schedules at the two schools would be managed independently.
For more reductions and additions to staff anticipated for the 2022-23 school year, see the story in the Jan. 26 edition of the Cottonwood County Citizen on newsstands now.