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Lanesboro School Board: Lanesboro School - $1/2 million in the black


Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Education

"I applaud you for your strong fund balances," proclaimed CPA Pam Ristau as she delivered the audit report on Lanesboro School's finances at the monthly school board meeting November 16. The report showed excess revenues over expenditures of $503,264. The general fund unreserved/undesignated fund balance increased by $387,272, and net assets increase $647,692 over the previous year. Ristau cautioned that the state used to penalize districts with large undesignated funds and said the school's current balance could be a "concern." She pointed out there was a positive balance for the debt service fund, explaining the levies had balanced the fund. Ristau credited the district's "conservative attitude" for the positive fund balances.

Superintendent Jeff Boggs gave former superintendent Rick Lamon the credit for the district's financial situation and credited the entire staff for having "the right attitude" and for "creating a culture that we watch it (finances)."

Boggs explained the district had spent less in 2005-2006; there were no large purchases. In the previous year, the school had bought two buses, the house by the football field, and improved the bus garage. Other situations that helped the financial picture were the fact that new teachers' salaries are less; the student numbers were holding constant; better funding was received from the state; interest on investments had gone up resulting in a $90,000 interest income.

Boggs reminded the board that next year they would need to again be purchasing some buses. He warned that they would "really have to stay on top of things. If we lost a handful of students, we could see a big impact." State funding, favorable this year, could change next year.

Guidance Counselor

High School Principal Brett Clarke appeared before the board to discuss the district's plan regarding career counseling. Currently, all ninth graders take a semester long life skills and careers class in which, as a group, they explore career options by hearing speakers, job-shadowing, researching, and taking aptitude tests. Clarke speaks to students in the spring about classes required for college entrance before enrollment for fall classes. Work experience, based on student interest and what is accessible in the local area, is another career exploration available to older students.

Clarke meets individually with students as well; he intends to document those meetings to ensure he meets with every student. Board member Dave Ruen suggested Clarke be available during parent-teacher conferences so parents could discuss career options.

Board member Steve Snyder suggested having a section of the school newsletter dedicated to providing information about scholarships, internships, career days, and websites to inform parents about available options for their students.

Calculus

Clarke also addressed a concern voiced at a previous meeting about the school not having a calculus class. Discussions with college professors in the past led staff at Lanesboro to provide a strong basis in algebra with pre-calculus the highest level of math taught. Students with this background are able to be successful in college calculus classes. Currently, students in pre-calculus use the same text as is used to prep students at UWL for calculus. Clarke reported he intends to monitor this and check with more professors at area colleges for their opinions.

Board member Linda Sifford urged Clarke to have the symbols used in calculus introduced the final weeks of pre-calculus so students would be familiar with them when they went to college.

Other business

Other business conducted by the board included:

• approving winter sports contracts for girls' and boys' basketball coaches;

• increasing the theater contract with Commonweal from $5,500 to $5,750. This represents a 4 1?2 percent increase; there had been no increase for three years. The board acknowledged the hard work and time commitment of the Commonweal staff; they expressed their appreciation of the experiences students had there and the diversity the different staff provided. Boggs pointed out that the expense was still less than paying a teacher with benefits.

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