Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Enrollment numbers affect Barnum's 2018-19 school budget


March 29, 2018

Resolutions were passed for the termination and nonrenewal of contracts for two probationary teachers, Kelly Copenhaver and Stephanie Bandelin, at the Barnum School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 20.

The board passed both resolutions 4 – 1. Board Member Jessica Unkelhauser voted nay to the resolutions. Pat Poirier was absent.

Superintendent Dave Bottem stated some of the reasons why the 2018-19 budget must be cut.

“We lost 50 kids since 2014,” he said. “That’s two large classes of kids. It’s not that we are losing kids; it is just that we have fewer kids. They are not going anywhere else. That will happen in the high school, too, down the road.

“Two less teachers will save just over $100,000. I think the rest will happen through attrition when teachers retire. We are trying to make these cuts as thoughtfully as we can.”

The board members expressed their feelings about the issue.

“We need to make the cuts and have a two- or three-month cushion to get us through,” said Board Chair Paul Coughlin. “That’s an important piece to remember. We can’t raise taxes. We are working with a finite amount of money.”

“I want to make sure that the public can come back and ask if we tried this or tried that,” said Board Member Tim Peterson.

High School Principal Brian Kazmierczak reported that the eSports season has ended but that the students are deciding whether to take part in another six-week season this spring. The students compete in online video sports with other students from across the nation.

“We’ve already had a student interviewed about his video games,” said Kazmierczak. “I’ve been contacted by colleges from Jamestown, North Dakota and Davenport, Iowa. They are offering those kids scholarships of $10,000 a year to go to those schools.”

Elementary Principal Scott Anderson reported that kindergarten round-up will be held April 5.

“There will be no kindergarten that day,” he said. “The kids at the round-up will ride the bus, go to lunch and see how to work with trays and get some experience with the noise level.”

In other business, the board agreed to hold a working meeting of the board, where the public can come to discuss topics and where more discussion can take place by the board. The working meeting will be held the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

The working meeting was set for Tuesday, April 3, and the regular monthly meeting was set for Tuesday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m.


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