By Caroline Wigmore
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN - At the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School Board meeting Tuesday, district-wide budget cuts amounting to $300,000 were discussed. To e-mail comments to board members, click here.
It has not been determined exactly where these cuts will be made, but the board knows that approximately $120,000 in cuts from staff retirement and staff development will be necessary, $17,000 from special education, $58,000 from the high school, $50,000 from the middle school, and $61,000 from the elementary schools.
Superintendent George Ladd said approximately four staff and some elective courses would need to be cut.
“The cuts do affect our staff, because 80 percent of our cost comes from staff salaries,” Ladd said. “It affects more than four staff, if also affects a lot of programs, too,” Ladd added.
Bill Holmgren, HLWW’s financial consultant, said that the stimulus money from the state has so many strings attached that it would be unlikely that the school would be able obtain any of that money.
Part of the reason for the cuts is due to the fact that enrollment has not been growing as expected.
Since last year, enrollment has grown by one student, instead of the 10 to 12 students that the district had been projecting before the economy started to suffer.
“Many families are moving away,” Ladd said. “We consider ourselves fortunate to have flat enrollment,” he added.
“We’re holding our own in numbers,” Ladd said.
Bids for new middle school boiler
The board will be getting bids for replacing the current middle school boiler.
The type of boiler being considered would be energy efficient and would provide the school with a yearly savings of 17 to 24 percent, according Ladd.
Ladd said that the school would also be eligible for an energy rebate from the gas company, which would make now a good time to replace it.
The reason for replacing the boiler is not merely for energy efficiency though, according to Ladd. It is because of concern that the boiler may go out.
Superintendent contract approved
The summary of the contract proposal to Brad Sellner for the position of HLWW superintendent was approved.
The contract will begin Wednesday, July 1 of this year and end June 30, 2012.
The salary is set at $95,750 per year with no increases through 2012.
In other business, the high school and middle school handbooks have been updated, and highlight a few changes that have been made.
Some of the changes to the high school handbook include stronger repercussions for students committing threatening or intimidating acts, either verbally, written, or by gesture, which would threaten the well-being, health, or safety of any school personnel.
Cell phones and electronics have been banned from classrooms, unless given permission by a teacher.
Starting at the beginning of the 2009 school year, students must make changes to classes a minimum of five days before the start of the class.
In the middle school, several changes were made, as well. One includes the banning of all baked goods and treats served at school that were not prepared in the building. Commercially baked goods are still allowed.
This policy was put in place to maintain health standards as they relate to communicable diseases.
Sellner explained that students may still desire to bring in homemade baked goods in celebration of a birthday or other event, but this is no longer allowed.
High School Principal Mike Day reported that the parent-teacher conferences were not well attended. Day said that parents do use the online information source “school view,” on the school’s web site.
Brad Sellner announced that the middle school lip sync contest is set for Friday, April 3.
The elementary schools have set their spring program for grades 3-4 for Tuesday, April 7.
Budget cuts will be discussed at the next board meeting, Monday, April 3 in the board room
Further information about budget cuts will be presented at the next board meeting, Monday, April 13 at 6 p.m. in the board room, located in the middle school. It was incorrectly printed in the March 16 issue of the Herald Journal that the meeting is Monday, April 3. The correct date for the meeting is Monday, April 13.