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Paynesville Schools proposes revision to budget

PAYNESVILLE -- The Paynesville School Board is planning to approve a $12,000 revision to Paynesville School District's proposed 2008-09 budget at the final meeting of 2008.

Superintendent Todd Burlingame said Wednesday that Paynesville Area Public Schools is projecting a $12,257 boost in revenue because of an unexpected gain in student enrollment

During Tuesday's regular meeting, the School Board discussed possible revisions to the district's 2008-09 budget after district administration reported that the deficit will be less than originally projected.

In June, the School Board approved a 2008-09 budget that specified a $377,063 deficit. Burlingame said Wednesday that the district's updated deficit will be $364,806 because the district's enrollment, and thus enrollment-related state aid, is greater than the summer projection. Burlingame said the district gained 11 students.

The projected revenue boost allowed the School Board to make a revision to the 2008-09 budget -- the inclusion of a new part-time reading teacher for third- and fourth-grade students.

"We've got a lot of kids in need of help in the reading," Burlingame said. "And if we don't get those little guys reading at grade level by elementary, the chances of getting them on track are pretty slim."

Burlingame said the revision for the additional teacher will cost the district about $12,000. The teacher would be employed from January until the end of the 2008-09 school year.

"It's a real good investment, I think," Burlingame said.

As for the district's deficit, the district will cover the gap from its undesignated reserves of the district general fund.

After this year, the district knows it won't be able to tap into reserve funds to cover future deficit budgets. Burlingame has said in previous interviews that Paynesville School District's four-year streak of making no budget cuts has come to an end.

Burlingame said the School Board will approve the district's final budget during the Dec. 16 regular meeting.

In other business:

- The School Board began revisions on its policy on criminal background checks for district employees.

- Burlingame said the district recently received a grievance from the local teachers' union. He said an arbitration meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, but the district and union agreed on a settlement before the meeting and arbitration wasn't needed.