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

By Jack McFarlane
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum Schools face looming cuts


December 12, 2019

Barnum Schools is looking at $750,000 in potential budget cuts for the fiscal years of 2020 and 2021. The budget is still being analyzed, and the specifics of those cuts will be discussed in the coming weeks by school administrators.

At the working meeting of the school board on December 3, the board did not consider it appropriate to give any sort of recommendation or guideline on those cuts. The job is left to the administrators, who will be coming up with plans and recommendations to present to the board regarding cuts in both the high school and elementary.

“When you guys go through this, I just want to remind you that this is about the students. We have to do what’s best for the students,” said board member Patrick Poirier. The administrators will have to weigh what they can keep, or what is necessary to keep, versus things that they probably want to keep but must get rid of.

“How do we fix this long term versus just a year or two?” said Chair Paul Coughlin. “We need to really understand where we are as a district, what the community wants, and where we’re going.” The impact of the schools on the community and the relationship between these two was consequently brought up. The board discussed how much the community values the schools and if they might be willing to help if the school reached out to them. The big cuts that are coming are simply the reality of the situation and there’s no sugarcoating where it could lead if the budget isn’t balanced. A school can’t operate without being funded.

“We’ve overspent, we’ve dug ourselves this hole,” said Poirier.

In other business, student representatives Eden Sebring, Kyle Baker, and other students put on a Halloween dance that raised around $1,200 to provide a nice holiday meal for underprivileged families in the area .

All grade levels are showing growth in their PLC’s goals for reading and math. Around 2% growth is expected in a typical year for an elementary student’s reading and math proficiency level. At Barnum, some grade levels exceeded that growth goal while others fell short.

The early snow has already taken an allotted snow day up. For now, the board is hoping that the weather cooperates a little and doesn’t throw things too far off track.

With 141 boys and girls participating in the fall, sports participation was “up a little bit from 2018,” according to A.D. Dave Duesler.

The elementary school is putting on a Holiday Concert on December 19 at 6:00 p.m.

The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for December 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the boardroom.


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