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ELC School Board Plan reduces budget for ‘19-20

Enrollment decline forces cuts totaling $264,000

April 20, 2019
David Swartz - Managing Editor (dswartz@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

With enrollment declining by 100 over the past two years, the Estherville Lincoln Central School Board had some difficult decisions to make at its meeting Monday to as part of a budget reduction plan for the 2019-20 school year.

ELC Superintendent Tara Paul presented the board with three plans to the cut the budget. She said the target number to reduce the budget was just over $292,000.

Of the three plans, she presented two of them exceeded that target-one by about $60,000 and the second by $135,000. The third plan was under that target at around $35,000.

During extended discussions, school board members came up with a slightly different plan that is $27,000 under the target.

Paul said that amount will be added to the projected $81,000 shortfall the following budget year.

Nearly half of the $264,000 savings is expected by moving Frank Christenson from his position at the alternative school to middle school principal, currently held by Dave McCauley, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

This plan will keep kindergarten and first grade classes in five sections next year with projected enrollments of 90 and 84 students, respectively.

Grade 3-5 will be in four sections with grades 6-8 remaining in five sections.

This board-approved plan also retains a teacher associate for the school libraries. The school's three libraries retain an associate for each library-elementary, middle school and high school-with head librarian Lily Jensen overseeing the libraries and programming.

During the public comment section, which is at the start of each board meeting, Jensen asked the board to reconsider any plan that reduces library staff. She gave a short synopsis of all that they do for the school.

In other business Monday, three parents of current second graders brought their concerns to the board about that grade's performance on test scores.

The class has 68 students in three sections. A year ago, the parents sought to keep the class in four sections since many of these students have behavioral problems.

During that conversation, the parents were told an extra reading aide would be used, but the parents said that plan hasn't been followed.

"These students currently aren't reaching the proficiency of other classes," said parent Jeff Soper. "We were wondering what we can do to help the students the rest of the year."

Superintendent Paul told those parents that a substitute teacher has been put in place who will rotate between each of the three classes the remainder of the school year and pull students into small groups as needed.

During administrative reports, Regional Wellness Center Director Bob Grems reported nearly $300,000 has been raised for the splashpad project, which has an estimated cost of $525,000. He also said interviews have begun for a new director for the RWC.

 
 
 

 

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