If the $5.75 million operating levy referendum fails to pass Nov. 6, the Brainerd School District will be looking at about $5.5 million in budget reductions for the 2008-09 school year.
Here's a breakdown of those budget reductions recommended by school district administrators:
- Programs and class size: a $3.66 million reduction, including reducing the number of all-day, everyday kindergarten programs, dismantling the middle school instructional team approach, eliminating various high school electives, including several advanced placement courses. Remaining reductions to balance the budget will be from support staff and teachers at every level, including the elimination of 65 to 75 teaching positions. Class sizes would increase to more than 30 students per classroom in kindergarten through fourth-grade and more than 35 students in middle level classrooms. Core courses at BHS South and BHS would have class sizes in the upper 30s to low 40s.
Brainerd Superintendent Jerry Walseth discussed the proposed operating levy referendum at Thursday's Brainerd School Board meeting at the Brainerd High School cafeteria. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
- School closures: a $500,000 reduction, closing two of the four smallest elementary schools - either Whittier (127 students), Nisswa (217 students), Lincoln (236 students) or Harrison (248 students) elementary schools. Brainerd Superintendent Jerry Walseth said he would not consider closing Nisswa elementary.
- Athletics and activities: a $860,000 reduction, eliminating all middle school athletics/activities and 18 of the 29 high school league sports and all other clubs and organizations with paid advisers. Includes the reduction of transportation and administrative support. Walseth said this would impact about 40-65 percent of students in the district.
- Community use of school facilities: a $300,000 reduction, eliminating all school district costs associated with community use of school facilities.
- Transportation: a $180,000 reduction, eliminating five bus routes and bus transportation for students who live less than two miles from their residential school building, affecting about 700-800 students. Students would no longer be transported out of their attendance zone to their elementary school of choice, affecting about 1,400 students and those school choices may be limited.
The district is looking at $5.5 million in reductions for 2008-09 if the referendum does not pass to offset an anticipated $5 million budget deficit. Walseth said administrators are requesting an additional $500,000 in reductions more than the target to be sure to reduce enough and because the district likely will lose some of its open enrollment students due to the program and class offering reductions and increased class sizes. The district generally has about 300 open-enrolled students each year.
- Source: Brainerd School District
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