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Menahga faces more cuts if state budget proposals fly

Menahga School District will be forced to make $229,500 in cuts if state budget proposals become a reality.

Menahga Superintendent Mary Klamm said that she received budget figures from the State Demographer's Office. Minnesota schools are expected to see cuts in state aid in the next year, she said.

For Menahga, estimated cuts would be about $528,000 from the state, with less money given per pupil unit and additional payment shifts, resulting in interest costs.

The good news, Klamm said, is the Menahga School District has projected revenue for the next year of about $298,500.

Revenue comes from $179,000 in stimulus money and an expected increase in enrollment of 23, for $80,500. In addition, the district is projecting an increase in compensatory aid (free and reduced lunches) in the amount of $39,000.

"It's not bad considering last year we had to cut $200,000," Klamm said. "Our hope is the state won't cut this much from our budget." But she thinks cutting $298,000 is doable.

The board directed Klamm to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions at a future meeting.

In other business, the board:

n Discussed how meeting minutes are written and distributed.

Newly elected councilman Jon Kangas said he thought the meeting minutes were limited and should have more detail about discussions had at board meetings.

Klamm expressed concern in adding certain statements made during discussions to the minutes because it could become subjective.

Kangas said he liked how the Frazee School District had minutes written and posted online.

Klamm said she would check with the Minnesota School Board Association to see recommendations on how to type minutes and report back to the board.

n Approved continuing to purchase services with Sebeka School District.

Menahga shares certain services with the Sebeka district to save money, such as health services, Community Education director, Early Childhood Family Education parent educator, foreign language and vocational agriculture.

Klamm said the sharing agreement has resulted in significant savings for the district over the years.

n Approved a Netbook policy for students who are interested in checking out a Netbook from the district.

The policy outlines fees for checking out the Netbook, restrictions in use, provisions for loss or damage and other items.

"It will likely be updated in the future," Klamm said. "This is very new. Not a lot of school districts have such a policy."

n Set the next regular meeting for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17 at the high school media center.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561