Moorhead honors former Spud by naming school after her

MOORHEAD--The Moorhead School District will honor a Moorhead High School graduate and educator, and stick with the themes of new horizons and vistas for its students in naming its newest schools. In addition, voters will be asked in November to r...
The Moorhead School District's newest kindergarten through fourth-grade school will be called Dorothy Dodds Elementary School. It is being built at 4400 24th Ave. S and will open in fall 2017.

MOORHEAD-The Moorhead School District will honor a Moorhead High School graduate and educator, and stick with the themes of new horizons and vistas for its students in naming its newest schools.

In addition, voters will be asked in November to re-approve the district's $223.66 per pupil levy for another 10 years, the School Board decided in 6-0 votes Monday night, Aug. 22.

The district's newest kindergarten through fourth-grade school will be Dorothy Dodds Elementary, in keeping with recommendations of a naming task force.

The 750-student kindergarten through fourth-grade school is going up at 4400 24the Ave. S. and will open in fall 2017.

Dodds' name topped nearly 70 names suggested for the district's schools.

Dodds, a 1941 Moorhead High grad, was a pioneer in early childhood education in Minnesota over a long and distinguished career.

"What is a legacy? A legacy is planting seeds in a garden you won't see," said Brian Cole, a committee member and teacher at Horizon Middle School.

"We thought it important to honor the work of somebody who spent their life working in that K-4 sector," Cole said. "We were just blown away by the legacy" that she has left.

Dodds graduated from Moorhead High School in 1941, earning an elementary education degree at what was then Moorhead State Teachers College in 1945 and a master's degree in education from Colorado State University in 1948. She taught kindergarten at the Moorhead State Campus School from 1949 until 1972, when it closed, She then joined Minnesota State University Moorhead's education department until retiring in 1986. She also helped found the Moorhead Healthy Community Initiative. She died in December 2012.

The former Globe University building at 2777 34th St. S., which houses the Adult Basic Education and Red River Area Learning Center, will become the Vista Center for Education. The task force said it wanted to give the building a positive name that would reflect the diverse and multicultural students in its programs.

When Horizon Middle School's addition is completed, the two conjoined schools will be known as Horizon Middle School West Campus (for grades five and six) and the Horizon Middle School East Campus (grades seven and eight). Horizon is at 3601 12th Ave. S. The addition is expected to open in fall 2017.

The $223.66 per pupil levy is needed to finance school district operations, Superintendent Lynne Kovash said. The current per pupil levy expires after taxes payable in 2017.

The per pupil levy, if renewed, would commence with taxes payable in 2018.

"It maintains the funding that we have. It will be very important in opening the new buildings," Kovash said. She said the levy maintains stability in funding as state funding goes up and down, and helps the district pay for enrichment programs including world languages, and maintain class sizes at current levels.

The question will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

In other business, enrollment projections for the coming school year call for growth, but not as robust as once projected.

This year's kindergarten class is estimated to be 500 students, less than the 550 district officials thought they might see. In 2015-16, the district took in about 570 kindergarteners.

Despite the expected dip in the kindergarten class, the district expects enrollment to be up 186 students, though Assistant Superintendent Brandon Lunak said the district's enrollment is typically volatile at this time of the year.

The current district enrollment is 6,354 students, Lunak said in a memo. Moorhead's schools are projected to open after Labor Day with a little more than 6,400 students.

The district has added 822 students over the past four years, the memo said.