Projected fund balances were main topic at school board

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 3/17/98.

With a thought to the future, Paynesville Area High School Superintendent Howard Caldwell discussed the projected fund balances for the next two years and possible program changes at the Tuesday afternoon school board meeting.

Caldwell explained the general fund balance will be dropping considerably over the next two years. At the end of the 1997 school year the district had a balance of $1,663,464. By the end of this school year, the balance is anticipated to be about $727,841 and by next year (June 30, 1999) $371,787.

ďWe need to look at our expenditures and how to deal with the decline in revenue,Ē Caldwell told the board.

Besides the general fund, the food service account is anticipated to go from a $33,939 balance to a $24,964 deficit by the end of this fiscal year. By the end of next year, the account is expected to have a deficit of $91,018.

ďWe are looking at several options,Ē Caldwell said. ďIt is not a healthy situation to have a negative balance. If there is still a deficit by the end of the school year, weíll have to borrow the money from the general fund. The food service account is supposed to be self- supporting,Ē he added.

ďWe can raise the cost of school lunches but that wonít take care of the problem,Ē Caldwell said.

Caldwell went on to explain one area the budget could be reduced would be class sizes next year. The enrollment is expected to drop in the elementary and middle school, thus less state aid revenue to operate on next year.

Gary Heineman, elementary school principal, informed the board from July to March the elementary school has gained 35 students and lost 12 due to students moving. ďEvery year we gain more than we lose,Ē he added.

Caldwell suggested dropping two sections of classes (going from five to four sections in two grade levels) in the elementary school. ďJune 1 is the deadline to notify certified staff if we are going to reduce class sizes,Ē he said. Caldwell added a decision did not have to be made today (March 10) but at a later date. He recommended the board look over the classroom numbers and statistics.

Caldwell presented the board with the preliminary school calendar for the 1998-99 school year.

The three extra days required by the Legislature have been built into the calendar. Instead of three days of teacher workshops at the beginning of the school year, there will be only two and the spring parent-teacher conferences have been eliminated. Caldwell told the board the calendar includes 184 teacher contract days and 175 student-teacher contact days

The earliest school is permitted to start by law is Sept. 2. ďIím hoping by the end of the legislative session the three extra days will be repealed,Ē Caldwell said. ďWe donít need to adopt the calendar today, but consider adopting it in April,Ē Caldwell told the board.

Return to Archives