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

By Jack McFarlane
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum school board tables personnel cuts

 

February 27, 2020



The Barnum school board held its regular meeting Tuesday night, February 18 in the high school’s auditorium. The board took action on several non-personnel reductions, while tabling personnel cuts in lieu of a community meeting on March 4.

The non-personnel cuts and reductions that the board made were: a technology lease reconfiguration, Newsela subscription non-renewal, media budget reduction, a 20% reduction to the supplies budgets (401, 410, 430), Stop-It app non-renewal, Remind app non-renewal, IXL software non-renewal, as well as BLT & Site Team budgets reductions. The board also froze the salaries of both principals and the superintendent for the fiscal year of 2021.

The board agreed to meet with a community representative group on the proposed reductions on March 4 at 5:30 p.m. Parent Paula Williams is helping to spearhead this effort. The idea is that a small group of representatives (maybe 3 each) of students, parents, teachers, special education, and members from the community all present to the board and administration their own ideas on where cuts and reductions should be made.

Wanting it to be a productive meeting and not have a hundred people talking at once, whittling the groups down to a small number of representatives, creating time limits, and creating rules of interaction should keep things orderly and make it much easier to exchange ideas and information. “We’ll all police each other,” said Williams.

Personnel cuts have met consistently stiff resistance, but as Vice Chair Paul Coughlin said, “There is a zero-sum problem here. We don’t have a savings account, so the cuts have to come from somewhere.” He reminded the community of the reality of the situation. “We have to cut something because we no longer have the money.”

The retirements of Joan Kociemba (Paraprofessional) and Cathy Mattei (School Nurse) were approved by the board for the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The Senior High Math League won the Polar Division and Section 7, advancing to the state tournament in March. Jacob Hultgren finished first.

The Junior High Math League finished fourth in the league, with Calindria Ligget finishing first individually in the league.

The next regular board meeting is March 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.

 

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