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Benson School District passes resolution for budget cuts

BENSON -- The Benson School Board on Tuesday adopted a resolution directing the district's administration to recommend budget reductions for the 2011-12 school year.

The board also reviewed the preliminary budget for the next school year, which shows a potential deficit of $344,000, according to Superintendent Lee Westrum.

The district's budget committee has recommended the board make $175,000 in cuts and pass a budget with a $175,000 deficit, Westrum said.

The possible reductions will be presented at the board's March 21 meeting.

Action on placing teachers on unrequested leave, if required, will likely come in April.

The board took action on three retirements, accepting a letter of retirement from Barb Thue, North Elementary secretary; placing Kathryn Kyvig, early childhood special education teacher on leave until November, when she plans to retire; and accepting the retirement of former elementary principal John Moorse, on leave since 2006.

The board also heard a report that an extra classroom will be needed at the North Elementary building next year. The incoming fourth-grade class is only two sections, while the incoming kindergarten class is three. No room is currently available.

Possible options include moving the fourth grade to Benson Elementary to join the fifth and sixth grades, Westrum said.

He said the issue doesn't stem from growing student numbers; instead the challenge is created by a 53-member class, divided into two sections, while the rest of the elementary grades are in three sections.

The board will discuss spacing options and make a decision in April.

The next board meeting is a work session March 7 at the Senior High Media Center. Board members will hear presentations from the music, ag and math departments. They will also be addressed by fifth-grade teachers and discuss technology needs for the 2011-12 school year.

No board action is taken at work sessions.

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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