SAUK RAPIDS -- The Minnesota Legislature passed a two-year E-12 education budget as part of the overall budget bill passed earlier this month. Included in that is a funding increase of 2.45% in the first year and a 2% increase in year two.

Sauk Rapids-Rice Superintendent Brad Bergstrom says they were anticipating a 1% increase. So, while that certainly is good news, Bergstrom says there's more to the story for the Sauk Rapids-Rice district...

The thing that I gently remind people, while that this increase is wonderful when your district is in declining enrollment (such is what we are seeing) you hope to be able to maintain where we were at the previous year.

Earlier this month the Centers for Disease Control updated its COVID-19 guidance for schools this fall. The CDC won't require masks for kids returning to the classroom but is encouraging it.

Bergstrom says they follow the health guidelines put forth by the state and federal authorities and they won't mandate masks on kids if the case numbers stay low.

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Additionally, Bergstrom says they want kids back in school but are also looking at whether an online learning platform should be offered...

When the legislature passed their bill, there was no requirement for a distance-learning option to be in place. We are exploring a potential option of an online school and we are still working through the details on that. We hope to have things ironed out here in the next little bit to be able to share with families what, if any, options we'll be able to have.

Bergstrom wants parents and families to visit their website to review the latest draft of the safe learning plan.

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