PEQUOT LAKES - The Pequot Lakes School Board on Monday approved its 2007-08 budget, with an overall budget deficit of $259,087.
However, business manager Rick Skogen said the district still remains in good financial shape.
The district will have estimated FY2008 revenues of $12,534,4967, with estimated expenditures of $12,790,475 and an estimated unreserved fund balance on June 30, 2008, of $1,901,979, or 16 percent, which will be used to absorb the overall budget deficit.
Skogen said legislators gave the district about a 2 percent increase in its general education formula, along with better funding of special education, which gave the district an increase in special education funding of nearly $200,000.
The district's overall budget deficit included deficit fund balances in the following areas: General fund, $27,345 deficit; food service, $7,378 deficit; transportation, $71,546 deficit; community education, $5,730 deficit; and operating capital, $147,088 deficit.
At its next meeting, the board likely will approve a 10-cent increase for students and 15-cent increase for adults for lunch prices, which will generate an additional $11,000 to help with the food service budget deficit, Skogen said.
Supplies budget for existing programs were frozen at last year's levels, and for this budget, one school bus and one van will be purchased from the capital outlay fund, along with the majority of textbooks, Skogen said.
In other board action:
The board approved the implementation of the Literacy Collaborative at Eagle View Elementary School. The program, which has been successfully implemented at the nearby Brainerd School District, is a new literacy framework, a way of instructing all students at every reading level, Eagle View Principal Don Lenzen said. Lenzen said the program initially will be implemented in kindergarten and first-grade the first year and gradually be introduced to second- and possibly third-grade. The program will include the implementation of Reading Recovery, an intervention program for struggling first-grade readers.
Lenzen said the program is progressive and assesses all students throughout the school year, benefiting all students.
"The greatest challenge all teachers face is how to meet the needs of all students in the classroom," Lenzen said. "This program accepts the fact that students are at different places and helps them learn at their rate."
Lenzen said teachers are enthusiastic about the program. The board approved the five-year plan to implement the Literacy Collaborative, including the cost of one full-time-equivalent position. This included a half-time Literacy coordinator and half-time Reading Recovery teacher, along with a paraprofessional for 172 days to serve as a playground monitor to allow for common planning time among teachers. Cost is estimated at $40,000. Much of the training costs are paid for by the Paul Bunyan Coop and out of staff development funds.
The board accepted nine safety recommendations made by the school safety committee, which formed as a result of perceived threats and rumors of threats that shook the district in April.
Those safety recommendations included purchasing an e-mail notification system as its top priority; making sure announcements and messages are heard throughout the entire building; making sure there is a single phone number for people to dial and be connected to different offices; outdoor speakers for the west side of the school grounds; strobe lights to be installed in shop areas, music rooms and outdoors to identify to students and staff that there is an emergency; having administrators identify what doors are locked and remain unlocked during school hours; having a documented emergency plan in place; updating existing cameras and adding to the system; and reviewing the cell phone policy, making sure the current policy is enforced.
The board approve the top three of the nine recommendations, viewed as priorities by the school safety committee and work on implementing them. They include implementing the e-mail and phone notification system, making sure there are no dead zones in the building and that everyone can hear announcements and creating a single phone number for people to call and be able to access other office numbers.
The board thanked the committee, which included staff members, law enforcement, students and parents.
The board accepted the following resignations: John Weishalla, special education teacher; Brenda Myers, Eclipse Teen Center program assistant; Amanda Ranweiler, ninth-grade volleyball coach; Craig Dickmeyer, assistant baseball coach; Jon Arenz, head baseball coach; Judy Heslop, head girls golf coach; Steve Heslop, head boys golf coach; Dan Skaaland, middle level football coach; and Pete Sauer, head hockey coach.
The board approved the following new employees: Christine Tangen, special education teacher; Antonia Vargas, part-time Spanish teacher; Deb Gronholz, middle level secretary; and Robin Morrison, food service worker.
JODIE TWEED may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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