By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN Some trimming was done to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District’s 2017-18 budget before board members approved it last Monday.
Superintendent Brad Sellner commented that if changes are needed, “we can always revise the budget in the fall.”
Originally, the district looked at hiring $198,000 worth of new staff. Now, the figure has been reduced to $143,000.
The district is planning to hold off on hiring an additional fifth-grade teacher, and keep four sections. Currently, 27 students are estimated to be in each class, but if enrollment increases, a teacher could be hired later.
New teachers determined to be needed based on enrollment include: a full-time special education/middle school social studies teacher; a .8 position for Spanish/English Language Learning (ELL); and a .8 position for gifted and talented/middle school science.
New support staff was also deemed necessary adding back a paraprofessional for the health office, adding back a technology paraprofessional, adding to the KLKR broadcast club position salary, and making the athletic director position a “director” in the contract for a total addition of $48,500.
New one-time capital purchases in the budget stayed close to initial predictions $87,024 instead of $89,524 but a few swaps were made. Spending for new Chromebooks in the middle school was reduced from $15,000 to $7,500, and replacement track uniforms were reduced from $10,000 to $8,000. Also, an addition of $15,000 was made, to pay for additional math books due to a higher-than-average number of students coming in.
In the supply/services category, the district reduced its spending plans for public relations (brochures, mailings, news articles, advertisements) from $3,000 to $2,000.
Odds and ends
In other business, the board:
• approved a medical leave for Sheri Arneon for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year; and the resignations of Mary Kay Stanek as a Humphrey Elementary paraprofessional effective the end of the school year; and Ed Kutz as head girls’ basketball coach effective the end of the 2016-17 season.
• approved the following employment recommendations: Kevin Lamont as high school/middle school ag teacher effective the 2017-18 school year replacing Kevin Scott; Jennifer Robinson as a paraprofessional at Humphrey elementary effective May 1 replacing Lori Murphy; and Molly Edwards as high school counselor effective the 2017-18 school year replacing Terri Collins.
• approved an actuarial study agreement with Hildi, Inc., the same company that performed the study last time. The study is required for public entities to find their other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liability. The cost is about $3,400 for the 2017-18 school year, and $800 for the 2018-19 school year.
• approved vendor estimates for milk with Agropur, bread with Bimbo Bakeries (Earthgrains), waste removal with Mumford Sanitation, and fuel with Mid-County Coop.
• discussed topics for future work sessions. Board Member Charles Bush was not in attendance, but left a list of ideas, such as rewards for students other than grades, putting the “r” in fee (to eliminate activity fees), offering games for students at lunchtime (chess, ping pong, cards, etc.), rotating schedules so students don’t always have the same classes at the same time; and lyceum speakers.
Board Member Paul Bravinder suggested that the school create a list of speakers who currently come to the school, so they can review it at the next meeting.
Other board members suggested topics such as information on how “unplugged week” went at the school recently, a review of the hiring process, and information about the new counselor’s role and responsibilities.
• heard from Board Member Dwayne Diers that he heard Minnesota is in need of more work-based education, as there is a shortage of workers for manufacturing fields.