By Laura Barta
BUFFALO, HANOVER, MONTROSE, MN With the district’s financial future not looking so bright, many employees in the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District agreed to a pay freeze for the 2009-10 school year.
In October, teachers, non-affiliated employees, technology staff, directors, principals and the superintendent agreed to the freeze.
In early November, office and food service personnel were added to the list.
At the school board meeting Nov. 23, the district added a non-affiliated accountant and Community Education, which included: KidKare coordinator, recreation coordinator, aquatics/facilities coordinator, recreation supervisor, program coordinator and the Opening Doors coordinator.
Superintendent Jim Bauck mentioned that the district continues to work with educational support professionals and custodians regarding a pay freeze for 2009-10. He went on to acknowledge those who had already accepted the freeze and expressed his appreciation.
Piggy-backing on Bauck’s statements, Board Chair Dave Wilson thanked everyone for coming together for a pay freeze, and Human Resources Director Moreen Martell for all her work.
“This is what makes our district so unique,” commented Wilson. “We are like a family. The board is grateful for the parties involved; coming together as one and making their own individual sacrifices so we can continue to build on the district’s good reputation. Everyone is feeling the pain, and this freeze proves we are in this together.”
Census/enrollment projections shared
District Controller Tina Burkholder shared the census/enrollment projections with the board.
She began with a review of k-12 enrollment since Oct. 1, 2009 (5,740).
The district’s enrollment growth came to a halt for the 2009-2010 school year with a decrease of 32 students (-0.55 percent) from the prior year.
The five-year growth average is currently 72 students/year, or 1.32 percent. Total enrollment growth for the past five years is 361 students, or 6.71 percent.
The district typically loses more students than it gains in open enrollment.
The downward trend continued, and the district experienced a net loss of 144 students through open enrollment and tuition (students who attend programs such as Wright Technical Center of MAWSECO) for the 2008-2009 school year.
The district lost the largest portion of open enrollment students to Rockford and Delano (-171), and gained the most open enrollment students from St. Michael-Albertville (+93).
Enrollment projections for the 2009-10 were overestimated by 150 students (5,890).
The Oct. 1 counts (5,740) do not include post-secondary or shared time students.
The economic conditions played a greater role in determining the number of students attending Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose this year, making the prediction more difficult.
The district uses the schoolfinances.com enrollment projection model.
In projecting enrollments, Burkholder said there are three different data sets available and that the district will use the same method as last year, which is “district data.”
The district data option allows schools to enter enrollment history taken at any time. This option allows the enrollment history to exclude the post-secondary or shared time students as of any date
There are 17 different enrollment model variations to pick from. A merged method uses a variety of the models.
This model predicts a total k-12 enrollment of 5,781 students for 2010-11, an increase of 41 students from this year.
Some of the factors considered when selected a method were the current housing market, economic conditions, Wright County births, and budget reductions.
Burkholder concluded that enrollment projections would most likely be flat for the next three years.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved the annual report, which is a required report to the public each fall.
Once approved, the annual report will be posted to the district’s web site, and notice of the report will be distributed through the next issue of the Insider.
• heard that the student council student representative for November is Graham Wyatt.
He reported that the high school student council is going to be working with the Green Team to look for more ways to conserve energy. The council is also planning to have a movie for charity.
Wyatt said that more information would be presented at the next school board meeting. The council has formed a new process to address issues with the staff and administration.
They recently asked about music in the halls during passing time, but were denied the request.
• recognized Lucas Leiferman, Ryan Bowers, Molly Kwakanat, McKenzie Swenson, and Amy Marquette, BCMS band students who were chosen to participate in the American School Band Directors Association’s Small Ensemble Day.
• recognized a $100 donation from Montrose Lionesses for the Montrose Elementary School playground.