Staff reductions made by the school board for 1998-99

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/21/98.

With a look to the next school year, the Paynesville Area School Board approved program adjustments at all levels at their meeting Tuesday night.

The adjustments range from the title one program in the elementary level to the number of sections per grade level in the elementary school and reducing the time of a teacher for the hearing impaired.

Elementary Principal Gary Heineman explained that for the 1998-99 school year the revenue estimates are down about $16,000 for the title one program.

ďEach year we usually have a little carry-over, but with contract adjustments this year for paraprofessionals, we have had to use the excess,Ē Heineman said. ďHowever, we can use some of the compensatory revenue to maintain our present staffing.Ē Compensatory revenue is funds given to the schools by the state to help students who fall behind.

The district received $66,000 for compensatory aid this year and only used about $30,000. Next year the district will receive $93,000 for compensatory aid.

In regard to the class sizes in the elementary school, the board approved leaving the fourth and fifth grade at their present section level. The fourth grade has five sections and the fifth grade four sections.

Board members Deb Glenz and Dean Hanson talked with the fifth grade teachers and the teachers indicated they felt comfortable with four sections.

The third grade and kindergarten levels will go from five sections down to four next year.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell said the rule of thumb they try to follow is not to go over 20 students per section in kindergarten through third grade. ďIf the classes receive more students (open enrollment), then weíll review the issue,Ē he added.

The board approved the recommendations as presented for the middle school and high school levels. In the middle school, they will reduce core classes and reduce a specialist elective. A large eighth grade class is moving into the high school, and adjustments are being made to accommodate smaller classes.

In the high school, a teacher for the hearing impaired will be reduced two class periods and eliminate one hearing impaired interpreter. Kim Gulbranson will work with at-risk students who have been unable to pass the reading and math graduation standards test.

School lunch program
The school lunch program was also discussed as the food service budget is anticipated to have a deficit of $91,000 by the end of the next school year. ďThe budget is moving in the wrong direction with the expenses exceeding the revenue,Ē Caldwell told the board.

Barb Koehn, food service manager, informed the board they will have an estimated $25,000 shortfall by the end of this school year. ďYou also need to consider that the kitchens have a lot of old equipment which needs replacing,Ē she added.

Koehn presented an outline of some ways revenue could be increased and expenses cut. The cost of lunch prices could be raised next year. By raising lunch prices a dime, $10,765 could be generated. By eliminating milk break in first through third grade, the district could save $8,527. If the district switched from bulk milk back to carton milk, the district could save an additional $8,000.

The board approved hiring a consultant to help research other areas in the food service department in which the district could save money. ďI think in the long run, he will pay for his fees,Ē Pat Flanders, board chairman, said.

In other business...
• The board approved the summer marching band program. Bryan Mara, band director, said he has more than 100 students in grades eight through 12 who have indicated they are interested in marching this summer. The band will march in seven parades. Cost of the added program will come to about $6,160.
• The board approved a contract adjustment for Connie Wimmer, middle school teacher.
• The board approved a one-year general leave request for Gary Haglund, high school science teacher.

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