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Paynesville Press - March 03, 2004

School board hears budget cut proposals

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

*The board heard a preliminary proposal from its administrators regarding budget cuts and restructuring for the 2004-05 school year. The district plans to reduce its budget by one principal, by one teacher in the elementary school, and by one teacher in the middle/high school for the next school year, saving around $200,000.

Next year, the school district estimates that it will receive $128,000 less in foundation aid from the state due to declining enrollment. Related story

*The board tabled a proposed land lease agreement between the school district and the city to allow school property to be used for a public aquatic park. The matter was tabled at the request of the administration, who had the agreement reviewed by legal counsel. The board is expected to consider and approve the agreement in March.

*The board established a three-member committee to work with the administration and look at hiring a consultant to update the district's pay equity plan. Pay equity means having equal pay for equally skilled positions and requires having up-to-date job descriptions. The district performed its last pay equity plan over a decade ago.

Assigned to the committee were board members Mark Dingmann, Lowell Haagenson, and Bonnie Strobbe.

*The board approved adjusting the 2003-04 calendar, giving seniors the morning off on Wednesday, March 10. The high school will hold MCA tests for the sophomores and juniors on that day. In order to hold the tests in classrooms and to have enough teachers to cover the testing and classes, seniors will be excused that day until 12:30 p.m.

*The board approved a retirement request from middle school teacher Bob Bowden, effective at the end of the 2003-04 school year.

*The board approved a retirement request from school nurse Beth Realdsen, effective at the end of the 2003-04 school year.

*The board approved the following athletic coaching assignments for this spring: baseball - head coach, Brad Skoglund; assistant, Tom Ludwig; eighth grade, Bob Bowden; seventh grade, Brad Nepsund; golf - head coach, Todd Knudsvig; assistant, Ron Fuchs; softball - head coach, Tim Woehler; assistant, Dawn Knoll; eighth grade, Ross Engelstad; seventh grade, Rick Houske; track - head boys, Darrel Carstens; head girls, Dave Randgaard; assistant, Kyle Nehowig and Todd Spanier (sharing one paid position); seventh and eighth grade, Dave Mutschelknaus.

*The board heard about the upcoming high school band trip to New Orleans from March 25-30. The band typically takes a trip every two years. This March, for the first time, the band trip will include students in grades 9-12, since the high school merged its senior and junior bands into one 9-12 band this year.

The students raised funds and will pay for the rest of the trip themselves, so there is no cost to the district for the trip.

*The board approved extending the leave for elementary teacher Karlin Jacoby by one week and adjusted the contract for her long-term substitute accordingly.

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