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Paynesville Press - May 17, 2006

Paynesville schools expect a budget increase

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, May 9.

•The board approved budget adjustments for 2006-07, which currently total a spending increase of $17,811. The current budget adjustments do not include spending only $15,000 on staff development in 2006-07, which would be a reduction of $10,000 but must be approved by the teacher's union. If this reduction is included, the budget increase for 2006-07 is $7,811.

The budget increase comes after five straight years of budget cuts for the district.

The board voted 4-1 for the budget adjustments, with board members Mark Dingmann, David Johnson, Gretchen O'Fallon, and Bonnie Strobbe voting in favor while board member Deb Glenz, citing her opposition to further cuts to the athletic budget ($1,400) voted against.

Should the teacher's union reject the staff development reduction, the board directed for the entire budget adjustment proposal to come back to the board.

•The board approved the issuance of $440,000 in general obligation capital facilities bonds, with which the district will finance roof replacements. The district received three bids for the bonds, with the low bid being for a net rate of 4.053 percent for 10 years with annual payments averaging $58,000, which the district will repay with a new deferred maintenance levy

•The district accepted the low bid of $437,872 from McDowell Roofing Company of St. Cloud to replace six sections of roof (four at high school/ middle school and two at the elementary school). The district considered having a seventh section replace but could not afford it with the $440,000 bond issue. To save $40,000, the district offered the contractor an extended schedule, meaning the work could begin in August and continue into September, with appropriate precautions.

•The board approved a proposal for Community Education to increase membership fees at the fitness center and to hire a part-time staff person for 2006-07.

The fitness center rate increases - the first in four years - will see rates go from $20 per month to $24 per month for singles (from $216 to $259 for a yearly rate); from $30 to $34 for couples (from $324 to $367 per year); from $35 to $39 for families (from $378 to $421 per year); and from $10 to $11 for students (from $108 to $111 per year).

Part of the increase, explained director Matt Dickhausen, is because Community Education needs to pay 6.5 percent sales tax on its revenues starting in July.

With the increases, the fitness center is budgeted to collect $67,282 in revenue and spend $66,343 in expenses (not including administrative costs).

The fitness center will also add hours in 2006-07, increasing availibility by 14 percent. Its year-long hours, starting in July, would be... Mondays to Fridays: 5:30 to 9 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and 3 to 9 p.m.; Saturdays: 7 a.m. to 12 noon; and Sundays: 3 to 7 p.m. This adds an hour each weekday morning, each Saturday morning, and each Sunday afternoon.

The part-time staffer, which Dickhausen hopes will enable Community Education to further expand their offerings, would work 19.5 hours per week. Community Education has increased its budget from $162,000 in 2002-03 to $267,000 in 2005-06. More revenue means more programs and more participants, said Dickhausen, indicating the need for more staff.

•The board approved an agreement with the city of Paynesville for a $17,500 contribution for the district's elementary playground improvements. The district planned to make $45,000 in improvements and approached the city to cover a third of the costs.

The city asked that a gate be added to face the city's Gazebo Park and that drainage be added to fix the spring flooding problem. The school has received a bid of $7,500 to connect the playground drains to the city's stormwater sewer.

Improvements at the playground are scheduled for this summer.

•The board approved continuing the district's teacher performance improvement program for the 2006-07 school year. A teacher reflection has been added to the program as an optional piece.

•The board approved a contract for Reach-up Inc. to have breakfast for Head Start students at the elementary school for the 2006-07 school year. The cost was increased by 10 cents per person per day, from $1.20 to $1.30 for students and from $1.40 to $1.50 for adults.

•The board approved tenure for kindergarten teacher Becky Quade at the conclusion of the 2005-06 school year.

•The board reported that it closed a portion of its Tuesday, April 25, meeting to evaluate administration.

•As part of its budget reductions, the board approved eliminating the position of special education secretary for the 2006-07 school year and approved reducing 30 minutes per day from the duties of middle school paraprofessional Brenda Klein. Klein staffs the middle school office in the mornings and afternoons this year, but this duty will be reduced to just the mornings in 2006-07, thus the half-hour time reduction.

•The board approved a maternity leave for ECFE teacher Amy Jech, starting in mid-September of the 2006-07 school year.

•The board was reminded that their next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 23, at 2 p.m. at the middle school media center in order to meet with the high school and middle school advisory councils.

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