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Board Approves Recommended Budget Reductions

During its March meeting, the Big Lake School Board approved administration’s recommendation for how it will reduce next year’s general fund budget by $350,000. This action comes a month after the board directed administration to cut $450,000 from the budget due to a series of projected deficits starting this year. Where the remaining $100,000 will be cut will be determined over the next month as staffing levels for next year become clearer.

 

The school board approved the following reductions:

  • Elimination of a health services department position—all health offices will still be staffed full-time.
  • Elimination of a high school campus supervisor position
  • Elimination of the Teaching, Learning and Technology Coordinator position
  • Not replacing retirements/resignations of a kindergarten, third grade, and fifth grade teaching position—staffing will increase if enrollment sufficiently increases
  • Reduction of a certified business teacher
  • Reduction of the high school and middle school counselors’ extended contract days
  • Reduction of the building supplies budget by 10 percent
  • Reduction in the activities budget

“The decision to reduce any position is an extremely difficult one to make,” said Superintendent Westerberg. “Our goal in selecting these reductions was to protect class sizes and programs, which we successfully accomplished.”

 

Most Minnesota school districts are making budget reductions this spring mainly due to the state’s inadequate per pupil funding formula and the underfunding of special education.

 

The Legislature and Governor are currently working to establish the state’s budget for the next two years, which includes funding levels for education.

 

“This is the time to contact our legislative leaders to advocate for increased funding levels for Minnesota school districts,” Westerberg said. “Two percent funding formula increases are not enough, and districts cannot continue to subsidize special education expenditures with general education money. “

 

The links or phone numbers below can be used to contact legislative leaders to express the needs for adequate funding for all schools.

House Speaker Melissa Hortman: 651-296-4280 or rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn

Senate Majority Leader Gazelka: 651-296-4875 or https://bit.ly/2FVxBX4

House Education Finance Chair Davnie: 651-296-0173 or rep.jim.davnie@house.mn

Senate E-12 Finance and Policy Chair Nelson: 651-296-4848 or https://bit.ly/2WKawx2