By MIKE O’ROURKE
Despite reservations expressed about cuts to the Brainerd School District’s program for gifted and talented students, the Brainerd School Board Monday cut approximately $551,000 from its 2012-13 budget.
“Nobody likes to make reductions, but we think it’s the responsible thing to do,” Superintendent Steve Razidlo said while introducing his recommendation, which passed on a 3-2 vote. Voting yes were Reed Campbell, Tom Haglin and Kent Montgomery. Jim Hunt and Chris Robinson voted no and Ruth Nelson was absent.
Both Hunt and Robinson objected to the cuts to the program for gifted and talented students. Hunt said the district had worked hard to establish the program and this reduction would approximately cut it by half.
“I feel like it’s a step backward,” Hunt, a former Brainerd High School principal, said.
Razidlo pointed out that the need for further budget reductions was discussed even when the school district was asking the voters to support it with a bonding levy.
Other areas which will face cuts or realignments include pre-kindergarten through fourth grade supplies, teaching staff in grades five through 12, music production costs, instructional supplies, physical education staff costs, support for work experience programs, education assistants.
The cuts, Razidlo said, could be made without requiring unrequested leaves of absences or layoffs. A substitute custodial position may be discontinued he said and a clerical position where the employee is retiring may not be replaced.
Razidlo said recommending the cuts was “uncomfortable and not fun.”
MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He may be followed on Twitter at MikeORourkenews.