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NLS receives list of areas where budget could be cut by $227,000

NEW LONDON — The New London-Spicer School Board received the first draft Monday of potential budget reductions for the 2013-14 school year.

The administration-recommended list includes $191,905 in cuts on the “consider” list and $91,207 in cuts on the “potentially consider” list. Possible reductions total $227,231.

Based on the budget for the upcoming school year, the district’s finance committee has recommended reductions of $145,000 to $200,000.

Superintendent Paul Carlson noted that the list of cuts is “very preliminary right now” and cautioned that the recommendations and the resulting impacts need to be further examined by district officials.

The school board may have additional time to consider the budget cuts, Carlson noted, because there are no cuts on the list that include putting a teacher on unrequested leave. The required process for cutting a tenured teacher includes giving notice by the end of April.

However, there will be non-renewals of contracts for teachers in their probationary period, Carlson said.

The budget cuts included on the “consider” list are $22,609 less in special education costs, based on changing caseloads; $42,750 by reassigning curriculum and assessment to administration and lead teachers; $31,798 by realigning the media and technology areas and reducing one full-time equivalent position; $10,000 by realigning the paraprofessional structure in the middle school intervention program; $25,339 by restructuring English Language Learner instruction and Title 1 reading intervention; $11,907 less because a special education bus monitor would not be needed for the coming year; and $47,502 by restricting the alternative learning program, which includes moving the program into the high school building.

The alternative program will transition to the high school building this summer from the current downtown location, according to a tentative plan set out by high school principal Kevin Acquard.

The current group of ALC students want the option to come to the high school building to take the more hands-on classes offered at the main building, Acquard said. The plan is that the alternative program would be housed in a portion of the current art and agriculture rooms and high school and middle school staff members would teach the classes.

The $91,207 on the “potential consider” list includes $24,650 by cutting a 0.5 FTE art teacher from the middle and high schools; $34,355 by cutting a 0.5 FTE high school counselor; $13,800 by cutting the mail clerk/secretary; $15,000 by reducing the supply budget; and $3,402 less by reducing the middle school activities director.

The board also approved allowing having a sporting clay target shooting team for high school students. The sport is now recognized by the Minnesota State High School League.

Troy Haverly presented information to the board about how the coaches will work with the students, 15 high-schoolers have expressed interest, how the instruction, practice and competition works, and how organizers are already gathering support from the community.

“This sport is going crazy,” Haverly told the board, with 1,500 students in the state now participating. The students will participate in five competitions, at the Paynesville range, and compete against scores posted other schools. The top five shooters will go to the state tournament in Alexandria in June.

The interested students have to have their firearms certification completed and have their parents fill out and sign an online form by Friday to be involved in the spring season.

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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