School board OKs $1.6 million in budget changes

Published on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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The Blaine school board took the first decisive step in 2011-2012 budget preparations by approving approximately $1.6 million in budget adjustments on Monday.

The reduced education program, the most likely budget adjustments, for the upcoming school year, passed 4-0 with board member Todd Berge abstaining because a family member could be affected by the budget reductions. The program includes possible cuts to faculty, custodial staff, and library technician positions, and further reductions in office supplies and educational materials.
Spanjer said the budget reductions represent a worst-case scenario in state funding cuts.

Spanjer explained the district will not know exactly how deep the cuts will go until the state legislature passes a final budget.
The state legislature entered special session on Tuesday to continue budget negotiations.

State law requires staff reduction notices must be sent to certificated employees (teachers and counselors) by May 15.

Reductions in faculty or staff require board approval, hence the board’s vote on budget adjustments at the end of April.

Spanjer said 10 staff reduction notices will be sent by May 15, though four positions within that 10 will most likely be retained. Those four are specialized and include a school counselor and special education teachers.

Notices to classified staff, which include custodians, food service workers and administrative assistants, will be sent by June 1.
The reduced education program the board approved was the same one distributed at the district’s April 18 community budget forum, Spanjer said.

The two pages of comments gleaned from that meeting were consistent with suggestions district staff have been hearing throughout the budget planning process and did not warrant any changes to the list of budget adjustments, he explained.