Board OKs Iron River special ed

A special education program was approved for Iron River Elementary School Monday by the Maple School Board, which also received building project updates.

A special education program was approved for Iron River Elementary School Monday by the Maple School Board, which also received building project updates.

The 14 special needs students from the Iron River-area currently attend Northwestern Elementary School to receive services and attend school.

Next year parents of seven students want their children to attend Iron River to be served by the new program. The remaining Iron River-area children will continue at Northwestern.

Some parents are concerned a move to Iron River school would interrupt their child's education after a number of years of service at Northwestern, said Jim Pedersen, the district's director of special education.

In surveys conducted by Pedersen, all parents of Iron River-area special education students said they would have utilized a program at Iron River if one were available when their children were identified, he said.


Any child referred to a special education program from the Iron River-area during the 2007-2008 school year will be served at Iron River.

Early education students from the area will continue to be served at Northwestern Elementary School because they are taught in a specialized program.

With the measure the board approved the district to hire a new teacher if needed.

Depending on special education needs at both schools next year, a teacher from Northwestern could be transferred to Iron River to begin the program, one could be hired or both, said Superintendent Gregg Lundberg.

Since the teacher will have fewer students, the district will search for a teacher certified in both special and regular education. That way the teacher could also work with regular education students struggling with reading, Pedersen said.

"It would take some review to see what is the right role for that teacher and program," he said.

Starting a special education program at Iron River Elementary will be possible in fall because new construction will provide room for it.

The addition at Iron River is part of the district's building project, which is on schedule and on budget, said Jeff Iisakke of Krause Anderson.


Included in the project is an addition at Northwestern Middle School and the district's new transportation garage at Northwestern Elementary School.

All three projects are scheduled to be finished by Sept. 1.

The high school project also is moving along. The transportation garage at the high school has been demolished. Construction is set to begin at the high school Oct. 1, but the plan is to begin grading grounds surrounding the high school this summer, Iisakke said.

Krause Anderson is going to pre-bid the excavation work and then decide when to begin grading, Lundberg said.

If grading is done in summer, the asphalt and curbs will be ripped out in mid-June. Mass grading would be done on the high school's grounds, and the parking lots would be prepared for paving by Sept. 1 when students return to school, Iisakke said.

Drainage and an enlargement of the wastewater pond is part of the grading and excavation work. If that work is done this summer to finish by fall, the football field would be affected, Lundberg said.

The football team would lose the use of its field for one season.

Whenever excavation for the high school is done, excess dirt from the high school project will eventually be placed on the football field, Iisakke said.


If it's done during the summer and the field resodded in fall, it won't be ready to play on until the following year, Iisakke said.

In preparation for that possibility, the district is looking into options in Duluth and Superior for use in varsity games, Lundberg said.

Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail .

What To Read Next
Get Local