[Zumbrota-Mazeppa] School Board will propose final list of budget cuts on April 23

/ 18 April 2012 / jennifer

Emily Urness, Zumbrota News-Record, April 18, 2012 –

ZUMBROTA – The Zumbrota-Mazeppa School Board held a special meeting on April 9 at ZMHS media center to discuss Superintendent Tony Simons’s proposed budget cuts. At the next school board meeting on April 23 the board will propose the final list of budget cuts.

The first proposed cut dealt with the elimination of an elementary position. This would mean that there could be increased class size. Simons noted that the class size increase would potentially affect grades four through six. “It is the board’s desire to keep the classes as small as we can,” noted Chairman Grudem.

Other major cuts include the potential elimination of several half-time teaching positions in the following subjects: industrial technology, middle school reading, and high school language arts. Simons proposed that these positions be reassessed and possibly covered by existing staff. He also suggested that the school look into implementing integration reading programs that he has used at districts in the past.

“Unfortunately, education is very people-oriented,” Simons said. “Most of our budget deals with people and when we have to make reductions most of our funds are in salaries and benefits, so we end up taking a look at that as being the major area we draw from.”

The proposed teaching cuts raised concerns from the teachers in the packed media center. The proposed cut of the language arts position was particularly troubling to the teachers in the audience who said that this program frequently suffers cuts. “As a board we’re not after any program,” Simons said. He added that there is a language arts position open that they hope to fill with someone who can teach a foreign language and is qualified to teach English as well. “We do have some other staff who are not teaching but have endorsement in [teaching language arts] so we might be able to combine a couple of staff members to fill that position,” Simons suggested as another option.

Regarding all of the proposed position cuts to the teaching staff Simons stated, “We’ll take a look at it, we’ll give it a try for a year and if we don’t feel it’s beneficial to the kids or the school then we revisit that after a year and take a real hard look at it.”

Other proposed reductions

• Eliminate one eighth grade football coach

• Use dollars from the Per Cycle (money set aside to purchase curriculum materials)

• Reduce supply/materials purchases

• Eliminate summer custodial help

• Eliminate overload lunch supervisors

Proposals for increasing revenue

• Increase extra-curricular participation fees.

• Increase food prices

• Increase parking fees

• New sub-on-call system

• Cut return bussing from sporting events.

• The use of senior citizen volunteers to assist children crossing the street before and after school.

• Refinancing/refunding bonds

At the end of the meeting Simons and Grudem noted they are still open to suggestions from the community on how to reduce the budget and increase revenue.