District 88 to vote on cuts

/ 15 March 2012 / jennifer

New Ulm Journal, March 15, 2012 –

Seeking reductions of $1.1 million

NEW ULM – The District 88 School Board meets at 7 p.m. tonight to vote on cuts to next year’s budget.

The meeting is at the District Administrative Center.

The board has considered roughly $1.1 million in cuts in a series of work sessions. They include the following possibilities at present (not all would necessarily pass, and changes not on the list might come up):

Cutting 10 teachers ($500,000).

An early retirement incentive for teachers ($200,000 per year, based on the difference in the cost of experienced and young teachers).

Reorganization of clerical personnel in each building ($90,000).

Extra-curricular budget adjustments: raising participation fees, delaying uniform purchases, a fair-share fee for cooperating schools, inviting paid advertisements in programs and signs, etc. (up to $80,000 worth of potential adjustments have been discussed at various points).

A $50,000 transfer from a trust fund to buy textbooks.

Restructuring media coordination and computer lab staffing ($50,000).

Cutting a bus route ($38,000).

Restructuring custodial duties ($33,000).

Using funds raised by the Friends of District 88 to offset an additional teacher reduction (more than $30,000 have been raised).

A two- to five-day furlough for the superintendent’s and business office, the maintenance and activity director and other non-unionized employees (up to $22,000).

Restructuring the instructional improvement coordinator concept ($15,000).

Reducing equipment purchases ($10,000).

Other, smaller dollar-value prospective changes include eliminating some testing at the high school that is at the district’s discretion, a fee for half of the spaces in the main-campus parking lot, etc.

A board-approved application to the state Education Department for a four-day student week ($125,000) appears contingent upon settling union contracts by April 1, which school leaders have described as unlikely.