At the Pella School Board’s March 8 meetings, Katy Peterson was sworn in to replace Joy Flinchum. Peterson will fulfill Flinchum’s term ending in 2011 until board elections.

The board also heard from district art teacher Jim Emmert proposing the Pella Exploring Near Space (PINS) program. The project would encourage students to explore science, aviation and many other subjects through launching, tracking, and conducting experiments up to 100,000 feet in the air via high altitude balloons. Emmert says the project, which would start next May, has already received a $2,000 grant and hopes to earn another $2,000 to make the project “truly first class.”

High school science teacher Jeff Siewert also spoke to the board about Project Lead the Way, a national program aimed and piquing interest in science and engineering careers. Full supported by corporate sponsors, the program has already created an elective Principles of Engineering at the high school. The high school is set to three more engineering classes by 2011, which can be taken for college credit. Siewert says interest in the program has been strong and has already made significant impacts on enrolled students.

Finally, preliminary budget information was presented by Superintendent Wittmer. Initial estimates put the district’s losses for this year around $890,000. Exact funding details for 2011 are still pending and many board members fear they will be forced to produce a budget with insufficient information from the state.

The Pella School Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 22 at 4:30 p.m.

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