Moose Lake school makes budget cuts
After urging by elementary teachers Joanne Unzen and Trish Rodysill, the Moose Lake School Board agreed not to eliminate a fifth grade elementary teaching position at the meeting of the board on Monday, February 25.
“Part of the public relations that we do is that we maintain the quality of education with small class sizes,” said Board Member Julie Peterson. “We’re proud of it.”
Her comments were echoed by Board Chair Kris Lyons.
“What we have to offer is superior,” she said. “I hope everyone helps us when we go out for a bond referendum in May. We know what we have here.”
However, despite the pleas from one parent, the board left a special education teacher on the list of cuts.
“We hope that we can still provide help to the kids that need it,” said Board Member Jamie Jungers.
Other cuts included: the YES program, athletic director, Family School Support Worker, sell an hour of time of a science teacher to the Barnum School District, special ed paraprofessional, reduce the administrative secretary’s time by two hours, drop college trig, increase the student activity fees for Knowledge Bowl and Math League, and publish the school newsletter, The Informer, quarterly instead of monthly.
Superintendent Robert Indihar said that the district was expecting that the budget would be $90,000 in the black but, instead, it has an $84,000 deficit.
With adding back the elementary teacher, the deficit would grow to $87,700, it was said.
The board passed the motion to approve the list of cuts, except the elementary position, and adopted the revised 2012-2013 budget.
The board also approved providing child care in the elementary for the 2013-2014 school year.
Child care will be provided before and after school from 6 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and from 3:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Child care will be provided for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A coordinator, a director/teacher and an assistant will be hired. Aides would be hired as needed.
Presentations were given by Jillian McGee and Marlee Mollet, school counselors. They explained the requirements of their positions and stated their goals of better meeting those requirements.
They explained that they are both trained in mental health issues, and counsel students with mental health needs. If the problem is beyond their capabilities, the student is sent for counseling elsewhere.
Heidi Anderson and Paul Olson presented information about the reading curriculum.
Anderson, who teaches second grade, spoke about a new program that is being used in the elementary.
“The copyright is 2014,” Anderson explained. “We can’t purchase it so we are on a pilot program. Any kind of lesson can be displayed on Smart Boards. Even though part of the program uses technology, I’m hoping that books will always be important to the kids.”
Olson, who teaches sixth grade, showed how Study Island is used on an iPad, and listed the advantages of the program. He said that the program is based on the Minnesota standards.
“There have been a few bumps along the way but I like the program,” he added.
Supt. Indihar announced that he and Board Chair Lyons will testify to both the state House of Representatives and the Senate on Tuesday, February 26, about the need to replace the school because of the flood. The school district has asked for $20 million from the Legislature for replacing the school.
The board passed two resolutions. One is relating to the issuance of school building bonds in the amount of $33 million and calling for an election on May 20, and other resolution is to appoint the administration of absentee balloting process and health care facility voting for the special referendum election.
In other business, the board approved the 2013-2014 school calendar, approved converting from the Powerschool to the Infinite Campus student system, and approved setting up a Baseball Student Activity Account.
The board will hold a special meeting on Thursday, February 28, to interview and choose an architect. The interviews begin at 6 p.m. A working board meeting was set for Monday, March 4, at 6 p.m. and the regular meeting of the board was set for Monday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m