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Kingsland looks at budget cuts


Fri, Mar 21st, 2008
Posted in Education

WYKOFF - Superintendent Darrin Strosahl discussed the need for budget cuts for next year at the board's March 17 meeting. Strosahl and Mitch Lentz recently attended a meeting with state legislators who warned them that for the next two years no new funding would come from the state. The legislators are not at this time in favor of again shifting more of the percentage of costs to the local districts as has been done in the past.

The superintendent added that with the declining enrollment, he projects that the district will need to cut $200,000 from their budget for next year. He asked for suggestions from the board, staff and public for reductions. Strosahl expects to review ideas in April. He maintained that an effort will be made to keep from cutting from the classroom.

Lentz insisted that the funding from the state for the next two years is worse than "zero-zero." He said that in addition to no new funding, costs continue to go up. Lentz also noted that legislators that crossed party lines to override the governor for the Transportation Bill have lost committee positions.

Strosahl complained of a mandate from legislators to have districts develop an improvement plan across all areas. He added that this is an unfunded mandate. The mandate carries a threat of loss funding. Strosahl would like the mandate removed from the proposal. He also suggested that school districts should be exempt from paying the increase in the state gas tax.

Building Progress

Scott Sinclair, field coordinator for the building contractor, reported that work was on schedule and on budget. He noted that work in the kitchen, cafeteria and receiving area is near done. They are also working on improvements in the science rooms and painting in the elementary school.

Strosahl commented on the strong odor that emanated from the work on the cafeteria floor late last week. He insisted that even though it had caused dismissal of classes, it was a strong but not harmful odor. The school has been ventilated as much as possible. He added that should there be further problems due to construction, arrangements are being made to hold high school classes elsewhere.

AYP

Principal Jon Ellerbusche noted that they are still preparing for the state required Annual Yearly Progress tests that are now a couple of weeks away. He emphasized their efforts to further integrate math into the curriculum. He explained that all the students at the Middle School, two grades in the High School and two elementary grades are to be tested. The emphasis on math is necessary due to a weakness in that area in the past.

Treasurer Report

Business Secretary Kathy Beevers said that they should be on track over the nine month period despite some declining enrollment. She added that because the building project is moving along quickly, some bills are coming in earlier than expected. After consulting the auditor, she said that money will be transferred from the general fund temporarily in order to earn the higher interest rate on the CD's intended for building payments.

Beevers added that the district will be receiving energy rebates for energy efficient lighting and equipment that is being installed.

Funding from the state for special education is not sufficient to cover expenses. Beevers said that the state has lowered their funding from 88 cents on the dollar to 86 cents on the dollar. The difference will cost Kingsland $20,000.

Music Department

Josh Hogberg gave an overview of his area. He is in his second year as band and choir leader. With a $13,000 grant the department has purchased three new base drums and will be purchasing some replacements for some very used and dented brass instruments.

Hogberg explained that students are learning music history, music theory and composition. Kids are being encouraged to try and do their own composing. He admitted that at first students find it intimidating to attempt to compose their own music. A computer program allows them to hear back what they compose.

Personnel

• Maternity leave was approved for Kristal Brogan;

• Letters of resignation were accepted for school psychologist Randy Eckerson, Middle School baseball coach C. J. Boerger, Middle School softball coach Denise Montgomery, and golf coach John Jones.

• Ben House was newly hired at half time as the EBD teacher and half time as Special Ed Para. Strosahl noted that House is licensed by the state and that a couple of new students have moved into the district who require his services.

• Jill Ramaker was approved for hire as High School secretary.

• Spring assistant coaches were approved, including Baseball: Taren Jack, Jeremy Tesch, and Doug Bergey; Softball: Emily DeVries, Wally Beevers, and Ben House; Track: Brad Erichsen and Todd Davis; and Golf: Brit Ofstedal and Trent Langemo.

The next meeting of the school board will be at 5:00pm on April 21 at the Kingsland Middle School Media Center.

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