Parents criticize Sartell schools' handling of decision to cancel spring break

The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board voted to do away with spring break and replace it with a series of long weekends. But some parents complain they did not get enough time or information to consider the change and offer input.
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The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board voted to do away with spring break and replace it with a series of long weekends. But some parents complain they did not get enough time or information to consider the change and offer input.

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Verso Paper Corp. on Monday paid the city of Sartell in full – about $398,000 – for its response to a Memorial Day fire that ultimately led to the permanent closing of the company's paper plant, the St. Cloud Times reports. There were 92 agencies from across the state that helped fight the blaze and 68 of those sought repayment.

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The owners changed over the years, but Sartell's paper mill has provided hundreds of jobs for more than a century. Those days are gone following Verso Paper's decision not to reopen the fire-damaged plant. Now Gov. Dayton will put together a task force to look at how to reuse the 37 acre site on the Mississippi River. Verso says it will share its list of potential buyers.

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Within minutes of seeing the huge cloud of black smoke billowing from the Verso Paper mill last Monday, Ken Heim says he knew more help was needed. The St. Cloud Times reports by the end of last week, more than 60 departments had joined the effort. Crews will soon begin assessing the damage and looking into what caused the explosion that killed one worker and injured four others. The future of the Sartell plant remains uncertain.

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Gov. Mark Dayton and other government officials said Friday that they will pledge support for the city of Sartell after Verso Paper Corp. announced it was shutting down its fire-damaged paper mill for good. Dayton, who was in Sartell with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other lawmakers, vowed to use his clout to bring jobs back to the Verso site. More than 260 employees worked at the plant.