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NLS board appoints new elementary principal

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board unanimously appointed current assistant principal Joe Broderick as the new elementary principal at the regular meeting Monday.

Board member Helena Lungstrom made the motion after Superintendent Paul Carlson began presenting information on how the district could assess leadership and the use of school site leadership teams, especially in light of current elementary principal Sonya Peterson's retirement after this school year.

Lungstrom advocated for taking the opportunity, created by Peterson's retirement and budget cuts that may eliminate the assistant principal position. "I think it's a no-brainer. Let's take the bull by the horns," she said. "I've seen Joe grow in this district."

After the unanimous vote, which was met with applause from the gallery of school staff members, Board chair Robert Moeller called a short recess. Carlson contacted Broderick, who was not at the meeting and arrived in the board room about 15 minutes later, shook hands with each board member and thanked them for the opportunity and for their commitment to him.

"This is a wonderful community," he said. "My wife and I made a commitment to this community years ago."

The board also heard a report from Carlson about reducing the district's potential budget reduction list for the 2010-11 school year.

There was no action on the budget cuts, but the list now includes about $350,000 in cuts, with the target in reductions around $275,000.

The board could make a decision on the cuts at the March 22 or April 12 meeting. Carlson stressed that the administration still needs to determine how the cuts would be handled. For example, how 15 bus routes, one less than in previous years, would impact students.

"We've identified the list, now we need thoroughly look through (the cuts)," Carlson said.

Remaining on the list are $105,100 for the assistant principal job, $31,400 in savings from realigning the secretarial staff, $35,250 by cutting 0.5 fulltime equivalent (FTE) counselor, $40,000 by replacing the business manager with an accountant. Business manager Barb Gjerde is retiring after this year. The district could also cut $13,800 by moving mail clerk duties to the custodial staff, cut $3,700 by reducing coaching in gymnastics and junior high wrestling.

Teacher cuts still on the list include an 0.5 FTE business education position and 0.2 FTE positions in family and consumer sciences and English and language arts. Those changes may or may not be enacted, based on student interest in the elective classes, Carlson noted.

Busing changes could save about $47,000, with two less days of transportation and one less bus route next year.

The board also approved revisions to the district's general fund, food service and debt service budgets for the current school year. The general fund revisions included revenues of $12,656,820 and expenditures of $12,530,783, which left a positive balance of $126,037 and a projected fund balance of $131,166 on June 30. The district's general fund balance was just $5,129 on July 1, 2009.

Gjerde warned that the fund balance for the district should be $600,000 to $1.2 million, 5 to 10 percent, for the district. The district is expected to grow the fund balance, due to voter approval of a $200 increase in the district's per student operating levy. In November 2008, voters approved increasing the levy from $397 per student to $597 per student.

The district is expected to add $100,000 in federal compensatory aid funding, based on the number of students receiving free or reduced lunches, based on financial need. Previously, about 22 percent of students received free or reduced lunches. Now, about 30 percent meet those guidelines.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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