Braham terminates high school principal

Luke Reiter

Braham Area High School is parting ways with its second principal in 11 months after the school board opted to terminate its contract with Michael Bergevin.

In the regular meeting on Monday, April 18, the board unanimously voted to allow the district’s agreement with Bergevin to expire at the end of the school year.

Superintendent Greg Winter confirmed that Bergevin had already been relieved of duties but did not disclose the reason because of data privacy laws.

Bergevin was hired on as secondary principal last June with 16 years of experience in the role, having previously served at Parkers Prairie, Montgomery-Lonsdale and Red Lake County Central. Bergevin replaced Roger Jansen, who was forced into retirement as a stipulation of the School Improvement Grant.

According to Winter, the district has already received 11 applicants for the position and he plans to begin interviews in May.


Report on special education

The board also received an update from Pauline Bangma, director of the Rum River Special Education Cooperative.

The cooperative includes the Braham, Cambridge-Isanti, Isle, Milaca, Olgive and Princeton school districts and provides specialized assistance for children and families dealing with autism, psychological issues and vision and hearing impairments, among other things. The Rum River Cooperative also provides assistance and training to each district’s staff as needed.

Bangma said the cooperative and its schools had been placed in a difficult position by funding cuts because of a federal stipulation known as Maintenance of Effort (MOE). MOE requires schools to match their spending on special education from year to year, meaning that Minnesota schools struggling with reduced funding from the state government are not allowed to cut spending in special education unless they are granted an exception.

The cooperative bills Braham for its expenses based on the percent of its students that come from the district. According to Bangma’s records, 133 Braham students were identified as special education in 2010, which comprised 6.7 percent of the cooperative’s count.