Sartell-St. Stephen school board set to vote on budget cuts

by Mike Knaak

The Sartell-St. Stephen school board is expected to vote Monday, April 8, on list of budget cuts and revenue increases  proposed by district leadership. The cuts and search for increased revenue come after voters rejected an operational levy last fall.

The cuts and revenue increases would total at least $1.25 million and in addition, the district would spend about $500,000 from its General Fund balance.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the district office, 212 Third Ave. N.

The board is also studying whether to ask voters to approve another operational levy in fall 2019. That decision could come in May, according to Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert.

“Starting back in January, we went through a process of starting to spread the pain across the district, with as little impact on kids on possible,” Schwiebert said. “We went out to staff and asked for suggestions, had a couple of meetings, and I made a recommendation to the board. They’ve looked at it three different times.”

In a statement posted on the district’s Facebook account, the board said “These budgetary adjustments are painful but are necessary in light of our current budget situation. The Sartell-St. Stephen school district has a strong academic reputation and we do not want these reductions to have a significant impact on students. Our school district also has a long tradition of making do, but we must have additional revenue to continue our tradition of excellence.”

The list of expense cuts and revenue increases proposed at the March 18 board meeting include:

-Change in routing contract
-Reduction of two p.m. routes with bell time change
-Opt-in busing Grades nine-12
Savings: $70,000

-Reduction of supervisor of Building & Grounds
-Reduction of district office clerical position
-Reduction in contract for associate activities director
-Administrative cabinet salary Freeze (4 positions)
Savings: $180,000

-Reduction in overall budget
-Activities fee increases
-Facility Use Fee increases
Savings: $15,000
Additional revenue: $150,000

-No increase in staffing at new high school/no use of current building
-ProFields reduction
Savings: $15,000

Teacher Retirements
-Five teachers are retiring before the 2019-2020 school year
Savings: $270,000

Certified positions
Elementary 2.0 FTE
-Academic Extensions (1.0)
-Classroom (Oak Ridge Elementary 1.0)

Middle School 1.33 FTE
-Instructional Technology (.33)
-Classroom (1.0)

High School – 2.0 FTE
-Instructional Technology (1.0)
-Classroom (1.0)

District wide .58 FTE
-Adaptive physical education
-English Learner
Savings: $350,000

Non-certified support staff
-Elementary media aide (2.0)
-Elementary playground supervision (16 hours/day)
-Reduction of paraprofessionals (4.0)
-SHS greeter (1.0)
-SHS cafeteria supervision (4 hours/day)
Savings: $222,500

-Increase nonrefundable deposit
-Instructional Technology reductions
Savings $6,000

Curriculum and non-personnel
-Reduction of sub costs related to meetings
-Reduction of building non-personnel budgets
Savings: $60,000

District needs on hold
-No student/staff device refresh
-No Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program
-No Fitness Center supervision
-No student-run business or internship/apprenticeship experiences
-No Performing Arts Center/auditorium manager
-Some AP/College in the Schools classes will not be offered (art, comparative government, computer science, chemistry, principles of engineering)
Savings $400,000

Long-term reduction/revenue possibilities
-Estimated 10 percent class size increase
-Implementing up to a two-mile walk zone
-Leasing District Service Center
-Reduce middle school activities and athletics



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