LITTLE FALLS -- The director of teaching and learning, two assistant principals and 18.16 full-time equivalent teachers are proposed to be cut in the Little Falls School District next school year.
The Little Falls School Board is looking at cutting about $1.861 million from its 2003-04 budget to move out of statutory operating debt and another proposed $600,000 from its 2004-05 school year.
At the end of the 2002 fiscal year, the district's general fund balance was $912,303 in the red. It will be $609,553 in the red in 2003 and a negative $342,249 for the 2004 fiscal year. By the end of 2004, the school expects to no longer have a negative general fund balance.
Little Falls Superintendent Sharon Thomas discussed the proposed cuts during a public hearing Monday at the high school. About 40 people attended the meeting. The school board is expected to vote on the proposed cuts later this month.
Thomas said the district has cut $4.68 million since 2000 and now there is "no fat to cut." The district has already cut 11.5 administrative positions, 44 teachers, 45 other positions, has taken measures to save on energy costs and has cut programs.
Thomas said the only way to get out of debt is to make reductions, try to increase student enrollment and to reinvest its dollars. In the proposal, $300,000 will be taken out of the technology budget and be reinvested in the vocational program and used to help reduce elementary class sizes. Elementary band also will be reinstated and an Early Childhood Family Education program will be created at Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School.
A human resource position also will be added to help market the school and to help increase student enrollment. In 2002-03, the school lost 67 students more than anticipated.
Thomas said the district came up with the $1.861 million target for reductions by assuming that the school will lose 220 students next school year; receive no increase in revenues; see a 3 percent inflation rate; and use $250,000 to relieve debt.
The following are the proposed cuts for the 2003-04 school year:
$103,800 -- To cut the director of learning position.
$21,000 -- To cut 1.3 FTE administrative secretaries.
$97,000 -- To cut one assistant high school principal.
$97,000 -- To cut one assistant middle school principal.
$410,100 -- To cut 7.66 FTE teachers in the high school, which includes one FTE in health, agriculture, English, industrial arts, world language and mathematics. Plus a .5 FTE counselor, a .66 FTE family and consumer science teacher and a .5 FTE physical education teacher.
$247,000 -- To cut two FTE science teachers and a FTE position in language, art and family and consumer science in the middle school.
$254,600 -- To cut 5 FTE elementary teachers and a .5 FTE physical education teacher.
$144,000 -- To cut 3.5 FTE special education/social work positions in the middle and elementary schools.
$6,900 -- To cut four hours off the nurse's schedule in the middle and elementary schools.
$39,000 -- To cut one technology position in the middle school.
$79,000 -- To cut three technology positions in the high school and hire one at-will employee.
$300,000 -- To cut from the technology budget to use for reinvestment.
$39,700 -- To cut one custodian in the elementary school.
$97,000 -- To cut from the budget for supplies.
A total of $75,000 will be added to the budget to hire an at-will employee in the administrative department.
David Lutzwick, who has taught for 33 years in the school district, expressed concern about the industrial arts program in the middle school. He said the school cut the program from the sixth-graders and next year it will only be offered to the eighth-graders.
"You need to start people young," he said. "Kids need hands-on experience."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.