Burnsville-Eagan Savage School Board puts possible cuts on the table

/ 11 June 2012 / jennifer

John Gessner, SunThisWeek, June 11, 2012 –

Modified calendar still possible in 2013-14

Fresh off one round of budget cuts, the District 191 School Board wants to minimize surprises before it cuts the budget again next year.

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage board voted unanimously June 7 to have Superintendent Randy Clegg prepare a recommendation for possible cuts that could take effect in 2013-14.

The board said the recommendation, due by Sept. 6, “should include, but not be limited to:”

• Closing an elementary school.

• Closing a junior high school.

• Closing the district office building, the Administrative Services Center.

• Consolidating use of district buildings and facilities.

• Changing the school calendar and/or school day.

• Reducing transportation services.

• Eliminating specific programs and/or services.

• Reducing the district’s “organizational and staffing structure.”

“The transparency, actually, I prefer,” Board Member Jim Schmid said. “This is now a matter of public record.”

Calendar modification remains on the table after the board rejected a shorter school calendar with longer school days as part of its 2012-13 budget cuts. Board members axed the administrative proposal to save $776,000 by cutting 17 school days after hearing strong objections from parents and teachers.

Board members approved a cut list in May that’s reflected in the budget up for approval on June 21. The budget calls for $110.9 million in general-fund spending, compared with an estimated $114 million without the cuts.

Citing stagnant state funding, growing costs and declining enrollment, the district is looking to save about $15 million over the next three years.

Recent months’ talk of closing a building has already attracted some interest from potential buyers or renters. The two buildings that have drawn attention are well located: the Administrative Services Center, just east of Interstate 35W in northern Burnsville, and Cedar School, just east of Cedar Avenue on Diffley Road in Eagan.

The board voted down June 7 an administration proposal to hire a broker to field queries about the administrative center. The district will continue to field the calls.