School reduces staff positions to address funding shortfall

/ 11 April 2012 / jennifer

Jill Renstrom, Maple Lake Messenger, April 11, 2012 –

The Maple Lake school district has adopted a new resolution discontinuing and reducing educational positions in efforts to ease potential financial complications for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.

This adoption comes from administrative recommendations that have also been considered by the district’s Finance and Programs Committee while working together on the 2012-2013 budget, and was approved by the school board at their regular meeting on April 9.

The adopted resolution lists the following programs and positions, or portions thereof, to be discontinued:

up to 0.35 FTE part-time overload positions in the departments of art, physical education and Spanish;

a part-time (0.03 FTE) elementary music teaching position;

some restructuring of secretarial responsibilities;

up to 1.3 FTE paraprofessional and aide positions, and

a full-time elementary teacher.

Because the board approved a year-long leave for teacher Katie Sieberer through the 2012-2013 school year at the January board meeting, the last reduction has already been made. Also, one of the paraprofessionals on staff has already resigned and the schools are going to experiment if they can get by without filling that position for next year.

The district also made budget adjustments last year. In doing so, four sections of sixth grade were able to be kept. Now, as the students move into seventh grade, one less sixth grade class will be needed with a result of one less elementary teaching position, less elementary music time, and less elementary art time. The elementary art time has been an overload.

In explanation of the restructuring of secretarial duties, Kim Schwartz, district office clerk/secretary, has resigned, so the schools are trying a shift of duties rather than replace that position in its current format. Staff in the high school and elementary offices will split responsibilities of completing the special education paperwork pertaining to their school, which will add a convenience of keeping records of high school and elementary students separate.

Also, a contract with cafeteria clerical aide Bobbi Klimek was approved to increase her hours to full-time to be able to assist with the additional district office clerical duties. A memorandum of understanding, good through June 30, 2013, allows her to return to her current position if the new position is eliminated.

Superintendent Mark Redemske notified the board that next year’s budget has been the focus at recent administrative meetings and at Finance and Programs Committee meetings and that there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle. “We are tightening our belts in certain areas, but we are still able to keep up the quality of education for our students,” Redemske told the board. “These are not drastic reductions.” In addition to the staff reductions, Redemske also informed the board that new revenue from the state is not keeping up with increased expenses from year to year along with a couple of other issues that complicate the district’s finances for next year.

More information appears in this week’s Messenger.