[Zumbrota-Mazeppa] School superintendent asks public to bring ideas to April 9 budget meeting

/ 3 April 2012 / jennifer

Rebecca Aaland, Zumbrota News-Record, April 3, 2012 –

ZUMBROTA – At the March 26 Zumbrota-Mazeppa School Board meeting the board members agreed to schedule a second special budget meeting for April 9 at 7 p.m. at the ZM High School media center. Chairman Brian Grudem said, “It will be another working session to continue discussing the budget cuts and decide which direction we would like to go that would have the least effect on students.”

Superintendent Simons said, “The budget meeting on March 12 went pretty well, although we didn’t have a lot of parents or community people there. I would like to hear from them at the April 9 special public meeting.”

Simons said, “The cuts we need to make are not just trimming the fat but cutting into the bone. This is a sad state of affairs.” He discussed the list given at the special work session on March 12 which included possible reductions. The board members asked the superintendent to give them a final recommendation for budget cuts at the working session on April 9.

Board member Stephen Rosenthal asked if on the day of the special meeting the automatic notice to parents could call and remind them of the meeting. The board was in favor of doing this.

The board members want to vote on the budget cuts at their regular meeting on April 23 at 7 p.m. at the ZMHS media center.

Full-time special education coordinator needed

Superintendent Simons discussed the need for a full-time special education coordinator position for the next school year. He said, “We have approximately 110 kids in special education, and this job is getting pretty big for a half-time coordinator. If we want to serve the students like they should be served in an inclusive model, we need to make the coordinator position full-time. We are at full capacity.”

Simons wanted the board to take this position seriously. He continued, “The quickest way to go to court is through special education. We are playing with fire. We have kids who are more and more needy all the time. It only takes one or two high-needs kids that come into the system, and our schedule is out of whack. It gets to the point of burnout for the teachers.”

The School board decided to include this issue on the agenda for the regular board meeting on April 23.

Staff changes

• The school board approved two teachers’ resignations for the end of 2011-12 teacher contract: high school science/math teacher Steven Jystad and high school Spanish teacher Stephanie Schanus.

• The board approved elementary teacher Cheryl Kyllo’s retirement at the end of 2011-12 school year.