Board receives worst case scenario regarding budget

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/17/99.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell looked closely at the proposed budget and enrollment figures for the Paynesville Area School District for the 1999-2000 school year. He didn't like what he saw!

Caldwell informed the school board at their Tuesday night meeting that the 1998-99 school year ended with a general fund balance of $1.1 million. However, by the end of the 1999-2000 school year, the district could see a negative balance of $613,189.

"I'm hoping the scenario will be better," Caldwell said. "We won't know the exact numbers until the end of this school year (June 30, 1999). We have preliminary estimates on what the Legislature funding will provide us in 1999-2000. The estimates don't look good. I hope we get more than what has been predicted."

Caldwell informed the board that the school enrollment is one area which decides how much funding the district receives. "All the enrollment numbers relate back to dollars and cents on which we operate the district," he added.

"At present, the foundation aid is set at $3,530 per student, let's hope the Legislature gives us more," he added.

The district lost about 20 students from last year (1997-98) to this school year. As of Feb. 9, the district has an enrollment of 1,353. The estimated enrollment for the 1999-2000 school year is about 1,303 or 50 students less.

With funding levels at $3,530 per student, the district would receive about $176,000 less in the 1999-2000 school year.

The food service account had a positive balance of $28,038 on June 30, 1998, and could see a negative balance of more than $84,800 by June 30, 2000, Caldwell informed the board. "The food service program is in jeopardy. We have tried to do different things to improve its budget. A lot of areas still need refining," Caldwell told the board. "We'll probably be looking at price increases for student and adult meals."

In looking at the declining enrollment at the elementary school, Caldwell recommended that two teacher positions be eliminated, which the board approved. "This shouldn't be a problem for next year as we have one teacher retiring and another taking a leave of absence," Caldwell said.

Elementary Principal Gary Heineman informed the board the compensatory revenue will also be less next year. He received word from the Department of Children, Family, and Learning that the district would receive $69,000 for the 1999-2000 school year. This year the district received $93,000. The cutbacks would affect the middle and high school as well.

Compensatory revenue helps fund extra programs for the slower learners within the district, enabling them to keep up with their classmates.

Board chairman Pat Flanders said, "It's Howard's job to look at the poorest viewpoint in the budget forecast. I hope we won't crash and burn that fast. I'm confident the Legislature will do something with the funding. Thus far they have recommended a five percent increase."

Marching band
Bryan Mara, marching band director, presented the board with the 1999 summer schedule. "We won enough money at parades last summer to cover our busing costs. I felt that was quite an accomplishment for our first year of marching," Mara told the board. The band placed in all four parades they entered.

Mara added he has tied the annual band trip into the marching season. "If students want to take the trip, they will have to be part of the marching band," he added. "The trip will be a reward for their hard work." Instead of taking a trip during the school year as in the past, the band will take a trip in July at the end of their marching season.

As of March 10, there were 92 students in eighth through 12th grade with down payments made for the trip.

The band has applied to march in the following parades this summer: June 12, Buffalo; June 14, Benson; June 16, Paynesville; June 19, Long Prairie; June 23, Foley; June 26, St. Cloud; and June 27, Alexandria.

The band will be gone July 1 to 9 for their trip to the Boston area. Mara said the band will also march in five parades while in the Boston area: Randolph, Stoughton, Norwood, Mass., and Bristol and Glocester, R.I.

The band could receive anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 per parade. Among the stops on the trip are Niagara Falls, Boston, JFK Library, Mayflower, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Carniege Hall, and the Statue of Liberty. They will also be seeing Les Miserables on Broadway.

In other business:
•The board approved Monday, April 5, as a make-up for the March 9 snow day. School will be in session for students and staff on the Monday following Easter.

•The board accepted the following retirement resignations: Clarice Stumo, elementary music teacher; Karen Knowlton, speech clinician; and Julie Fischer, first grade instructional assistant.

•The board approved the following Early Childhood Family Education program assignments: Trudi Gorton, instructional assistant; Teresa Hacklander and Cara Elmhorst, sibling daycare.

•The board approved the following spring athletic assignments:

Baseball: Brad Skoglund, head coach; Dick Realdsen, assistant coach; Virg Vagle, eighth grade; and Ron Fuchs, seventh grade;

Softball: Murry Rafferty, head coach; Tim Woehler, assistant; Carol Smith, eighth grade; Dave Dziengel, seventh grade;

Track and field: Kyle Nehowig, head boys coach; Dave Randgaard, head girls coach; Scott George, assistant; Darrel Carstens, eighth grade; and Dave Mutschelknaus, seventh grade.

•The board approved hiring E&V Consultants and Construction Managers, Minneapolis. They will begin working with the board in the prereferendum phase on the auditorium/fitness facility.

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