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

By Jack McFarlane
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum School talks reductions


January 16, 2020

The Barnum school board convened for a doubleheader on January 7, holding the board’s reorganizational meeting first which was then followed by its working meeting.

Superintendent Mike McNulty presented some numbers on possible non-personnel reduction items at the working meeting. Some of the proposed reductions that could save (potentially) tens of thousands of dollars included changes in the way technology is leased, savings from the transportation co-op with Moose Lake, getting rid of a tech subscription, as well as reducing the media budget.

In another proposed example, an estimated a twenty percent reduction to the budgets of 401 (General Supplies), 410 (Custodial Supplies), and 430 (Instructional Supplies) could save the district around $28,000.

At the moment, no student activities are being looked at to cut, but what is being looked at are ways to offset some of the costs it takes to operate them by fundraising through things like business sponsorship. Another example to generate money would be raising lunch prices. According to McNulty, a lunch price increase of ten cents would raise about $6,000 (each increment of 5 cents would approximately raise $3,000).

The reductions and what areas they will be impacting will start coming into clearer focus over the coming board meetings.

A meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 4 at 6:30 p.m, held in the High School Choir Room, to discuss all reductions. At this meeting there will be a chance for staff and the public to speak to the board about the reductions.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for January 21 at 6:30 p.m.

At the Tuesday, February 18 regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m., the board will make reductions they decide upon.

During the organizational meeting, the two nominees for Chair of the board were Colleen Fetters and Paul Coughlin, with Fetters being named Chair in a tight vote. Coughlin was chosen unopposed as Vice Chair. Jessica Unkelhaeuser was approved as Treasurer and Tim Peterson as Clerk.

Regular board meetings in 2020 will be the third Tuesday of each month. Work session meetings will be the first Tuesday of January, February, April, May, October, and December.

Assignments for the 2020 board committees are as follows:

Legislative: Patrick Poirier, Tim Peterson, Beth Schatz

Certified Negotiations / Meet & Confer: Patrick Poirier, Paul Coughlin, Beth Schatz

Non-Certified Negotiations: Tim Peterson, Colleen Fetters, Jessica Unkelhaeuser

Business: Patrick Poirier, Jessica Unkelhaeuser, Jamie Fuglestad, Paul Coughlin (alternate)

Policy: Colleen Fetters, Jessica Unkelhaeuser, Beth Schatz

Barnum Leadership Team: Beth Schatz, Tim Peterson (alternate)

MSHSL: Paul Coughlin

Board members’ pay was approved for 2020, keeping the same rate as before. The current rates are as follows:


School related workshops=$60 half day, $90 full day

Board negotiations=$65 half day, $100 full day

Per meeting=$60

The 2020 mileage rate for travel was set at the IRS rate of $.575 per mile; per diem for overnight travel meals was set at the government rate (for example, dinner in outstate Minnesota is $23 versus $34 in the Twin Cities Area). The Rudy, Gassert, Yetka, Pritchett & Helwig Law Firm as well as O’Meara, Leer, Wagner & Kohl, P.A. were set as the 2020 school attorneys, and the official depositories for District funds were set with Northview Bank, Barnum Branch, and Minnesota Trust.

If make up days for poor weather/other are needed, May 1st, followed by June 4th will be the planned days. If more than two days need to be made up, it will be determined in a board meeting.

In other business, there were 30 Blessing bags distributed between Barnum Elementary and Barnum High Schools, as well as over 320 toys that were donated to Barnum Elementary School for their toy drive.


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