Weather Forecast


Possible cuts from first Crookston School Board work session shy of $1 million target

Crookston school administration discussed $944,711 in possible budget cuts with the School Board at its work session Friday morning, still shy of the $1 million the district will have to reduce for 2010.

More than $577,700 of the possible cuts comes from staff reductions. They include the full-time home liaison, $41,168, three full-time paraprofessionals or a special education teacher, $18,000, a second-grade teacher, $50,000, and a full-time Northern Lights Academy teacher, a savings of $55,000, along with other possible reductions. NLA is a district-owned learning center.

"I didn't know what to expect," said Frank Fee, board member, of Friday's session and recommendations. "This was the first time any of the board members had seen that. Since that Friday morning, we're just taking it all in."

The possible cuts outlined in the administrative recommendation for reductions and rightsizing also include the school resource officer, a savings of more than $39,000 and an option the board discussed at its last regular meeting, Feb. 11.

Some positions in the recommendation would be cut, whereas others simply wouldn't be filled, such as the construction trades teacher position, opened through a recent retirement, a savings of more than $77,000.

Custodial time and transportation administrative assistance may be reduced, the recommendation states, and administration changes might be necessary, too, according to Superintendent Wayne Gilman.

Non-staff cuts include selling back a shirt printer and freezing textbook, technology and bus and van purchases.

The community pool could suffer because its long-term cost will exceed $250,000 in capital improvements, the recommendation states.

Also included is an expected $50,000 to be raised through an auction that would sell industrial kitchen equipment, old furniture, old textbooks and computers.

"The administrators were instructed that they couldn't rely on that $50,000," Fee said. "So, they've got to come up with another $100,000."

"I'll have to look at putting some more things on (the list) -- maybe some extracurriculars," Gilman said. "I've tried to look at many things, but this is really unpleasant."

The board voted on the $1 million figure Feb. 11, following administration's recommendation. Flat state funding and declining enrollment have left many Minnesota school districts cutting massive amounts from their budgets. East Grand Forks plans a reduction of between $750,000 and $1.1 million.

The Crookston School Board will meet again in a working session 7 a.m. Thursday at the district office and administration must present its recommendations to the board for action at its Feb. 24 regular meeting, 6 p.m. in the high school choir/orchestra room.