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

By Jack McFarlane
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum school board makes personnel cuts


March 26, 2020

More reductions were approved for next year’s school budget at Barnum’s school board meeting on March 17, which the public was asked to view online instead of attend in-person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chair Colleen Fetters thanked all that were involved during the process of the budget reductions for all their hard work and time spent, “but we are at where we are at.”

The following are cuts from next year’s budget: 1.0 FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) elementary teacher position, three elementary lunch/recess supervisor positions, a high school detention supervisor position, a high school lunch supervisor position, .5 FTE Spanish teacher position, 1.0 FTE phy-ed teacher position, .5 FTE custodial position, 1.0 FTE clerical position, reduction of 262 food service hours, 1.0 FTE math teacher position, 1.0 FTE media specialist position, .34 FTE science teacher position, and on the recommendation of the special education department the reduction of two paraprofessionals.

The attempted reduction of a .56 FTE music teacher position failed, as the board decided to see if the program could possibly fund itself in the future with things such as concerts to help generate money. Board member Unkelhaeuser noted her opposition to the reduction of a 1.0 FTE clerical position, voting against the motion. Board Chair Fetters voted against the reduction of a 1.0 FTE media specialist.

The board discussed a fall 2020 operating levy and would like input from the community on the issue, “this is something the district needs to go out there and ask and look at,” said McNulty. “This is gonna need to be the fiscal support of the entire community.”

The difficulty in passing a levy for a school district is that it still raises the taxes of the public that might not be involved at all with the schools, but just happen to live in the area.

“We can only give out information, we can’t go campaign for it as a board,” said Fetters.

“We need help saving our teachers, I think it’s good to start now.” said board member Patrick Poirier. “None of us say we’re for it or against it but we need to hear from you.”

Superintendent Mike McNulty asked the public to stay away from the school with the coronavirus pandemic working its way through the country. He also asked that people be patient and supportive and to contact the school with any questions. With rapidly changing news, the school’s website is frequently being updated.

Five students from the Barnum Business Professionals of America team earned a spot to attend the National BPA Conference in May, in Washington DC. Eight Barnum High School students qualified to move on to the State History Day event at the Regional History Day competition at UMD.

The Bombatrons Robotics team finished ranked 24 out of 63 teams at the Lake Superior Competition in Duluth. The Barnum High School Math League team finished 6th at the State meet.

The board’s next scheduled meeting is the April 7th working meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the board room.


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