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NLS budget cuts upped to $258K, technology levy spending outlined

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board was presented Monday with a slightly increased list of potential budget cuts for the 2012-13 school year.

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The list now totals $258,517, which is higher than the initially expected range of $130,000 to $200,000 because the district needs to add an additional sixth-grade teacher, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson.

With the additional teacher, the target zone for the cuts is between $250,000 and $260,000, Carlson noted. The need for an additional teacher, to add a fifth section to accommodate 115 students, was presented to the board at the last board meeting.

The current list of cuts under consideration by the district includes $35,770 for a 0.5 full-time equivalent Spanish teacher; $92,483 for 1.6 FTE of high school teaching staff at the alternative learning center, and in science, family and consumer sciences and English; and $19,540 for sixth-class pay, the additional pay teachers receive for teaching additional class periods.

Based on the district's review of special education programs and case load, the estimated cuts in that area is estimated at $65,723 and an elementary paraprofessional position, funded by federal JOBS cash for one year, accounts for $16,316 in budget reductions.

Finally, the cuts include a 0.5 FTE reduction in housekeeping, at a savings of $11,675.

The last item on the list is additional revenue generated by increasing student activity fees by $25 at the high school and $10 for middle school, generating $17,010 in additional funding.

The board discussed with High School Principal Kevin Acquard whether or not the board would specifically list the areas where the 1.64 FTE of high school teacher reductions would be made. Acquard noted that building the master schedule is challenging because the cuts affect how students are placed in core classes versus elective classes.

Several board members assured the principal that they want the administration to handle those issues.

"We aren't experts on the day-to-day operations in the trenches," board member Renee Nolting said to the other members. "We need to trust them to work it out."

Board chair Robert Moller continued: "Our intent is that you have the ability to make sure the schedule works for the kids and the district."

The board also reviewed the district technology plan, which must be submitted to the state on a three-year basis. The 2013 to 2105 plan includes a proposed budget outline for how the district will spend the $1.5 million in technology levy funding approved by district voters in the November 2011 election.

The 2013 proposed spending includes $197,000 for infrastructure, $168,000 for interactive white boards, $121,064 for iPads and carts, $104,000 for computers and lab upgrades, $100,000 for sound systems and $15,000 for video production.

The 2014 proposed spending includes $150,000 for white boards, $133,000 for computers and labs, $73,164 for iPads and carts, $52,000 for infrastructure, $40,000 for voice-over internet protocol technology, $30,000 for iPod Touch tablets and $10,000 for video production.

The 2015 proposed budget includes $101,820 for iPads and carts, $77,000 for infrastructure, $75,000 for white boards and $10,000 for video production.

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