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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - One more academic year. That’s the future now facing Friedell Middle School after the Rochester School Board Tuesday approved a recommendation to close the site.

The  Board approved an administration recommendation to close the school at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year. Keeping the school open would have cost the district an extra $1.4-million per year.

Current plans call for repurposing the building for the Rochester Academy for Independent Living and school gymnastics. 

The vote was 5-2 with board members Melissa Amundsen and Julie Workman voting against the recommendation.

The board also approved the purchase of 1500 HP EliteBooks for the district’s teachers to help meet the demands created by the mix of distance and in-person learning. The cost is $1,150 per device for a total of $1,725,000. Funding for the new laptops is expected to come from theFederal Coronavirus Relief Fund. The fund was recently tapped to pay for 4500 Chromebooks for students and staff.

The board also approved an extension of the employment contract for Superintendent Michael Munoz, who has been with the district since 2011. The extension will run through June 30, 2022 and gives Munoz an annual salary of $228,300 during the extension period. Board member Amundsen was the only one to vote against the extension.

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