NEW ULM – Brown County Commissioners unanimously approved the addition of a part-time probation case assistance post for Stop Truancy assistance for 2022 on Tuesday.
The action came on a motion by Commissioner Dave Borchert, seconded by Dean Simonsen, to add the position that county truant officer Andy Braulick said would allow him to meet with the students one by one. more often at school or with their families.
Brown County Probation resumed the truancy program in October 2019 with 40 estimated maximum client referrals. In the past 12 months, the number of students has jumped to 140, according to a June 16, 2021 letter from Brown County Probation Director Les Schultz to county commissioners.
“No one can manage this workload alone”, writes Schultz. “There were times when we received 20 referrals in one day from a specific school. In September 2020, we received 32 program referrals.
Schultz wrote that schools reported that many students referred for the program did not turn on their computers during distance learning implemented due to COVID-19. When a student had three unexcused absences, a reference before absenteeism was made.
“Due to the overload, many times this first referral would be more than 20 failures”, Schultz wrote. “Many students are now a year behind in their courses which will need to be caught up to get their degree on time. Attendance will be crucial in the coming year.
Schultz wrote in his request that the Office of Justice Programs had decided to fund the truancy program for an additional two years with a slight overall reduction in funding.
“That alone will save the county $ 148,612 over the next two years,” said Schultz.
The case worker would work 30 hours per week throughout the school year, assisting with paperwork, data entry, assessments, keeping attendance lists and other assigned tasks including meetings with parents and students to resolve attendance issues.
Schultz said the cost of the position is around $ 25,000 including benefits.
Commissioner Scott Windschitl asked if the number of truancy will decrease due to the return of schools to classroom learning.
Schultz said his pre-absenteeism program helps keep students out of court. He said the number of absenteeism increased before the COVID-19 pandemic when schools heard about the probation service. program and 80% of inmates dropped out of school.
The commissioners unanimously approved:
• Authorize a Drainage Engineer to do a feasibility study for landowners on County 16 Ditch, motion by Commissioner Simonsen, seconded by Jeff Veerkamp.
With issues such as a rejected improvement, unauthorized repairs-replacements of sediment-filled tiles, and associated drainage issues, it appears that a feasibility study would steer the system in the best possible way for landowners, according to Requirement.
The goal of a study is to give landowners options, costs, and other information to help them make decisions on major repair projects and / or petitions. When a study is done, landowners meet with the engineer to discuss project observations and options.
• Approval of the 2021 Brown County Performance Measures report which measures public safety, public works, public health, real estate records, appraisal and appraisal, elections, veterans services, budget / finance and environment, motion by Veerkamp, seconded by Windschitl.
The report will be posted on the county’s website. It must be submitted to the State of Minnesota by July 1 to be eligible for program benefits. Brown County received $ 3,546 in 2019 for the completion of the report.
• Suspension of free trips on the Heartland Express bus as of December 31, 2021, motion by Windschitl, seconded by Borchert.
• Addition of a new Heartland Express main driver for the new city bus line scheduled to start in late spring 2022, motion by Simonsen, seconded by Veerkamp.
• Approval of Department of Social Services Fraud Prevention Investigation Grants of $ 35,000 for fiscal year 2022, 2033, motion of Windschitl, seconded by Tony Berg.
Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected]