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NLS school officials OK three layoffs

NEW LONDON -- During its regular meeting Monday, the New London-Spicer School Board passed resolutions providing notice of non-renewal to two probationary teachers and began the process of putting a tenured teacher on unrequested leave.

The probationary teachers are Duane Ledin, a music teacher from Paynesville, and Charles Schneider, a math teacher from Willmar. The tenured teacher is Kim Andresen, a Spanish teacher from Spicer.

The resolutions, which passed on a 6-0 vote continues the budget reduction process. The board approved making $193,214 in budget cuts for the 2011-12 school year at the April 11 meeting. Board member Dan DeGeest was absent from the meeting.

The board also approved a notice of non-renewal for Kathy Duke, the district's food service supervisor.

While Duke's contract with the district ends this school year, the district will likely hire her back on as food service coordinator, according to Superintendent Paul Carlson.

The change in Duke's job is due to an agreement between the NLS, Willmar and Montevideo school districts to share a food services director. Annette Derouin, Willmar's director, will work 20 days for NLS during the upcoming school year.

The board also met with area legislators to discuss how education funding is shaping up in the Legislature. Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, and Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, both told the board that bills passed by their respective houses increase state funding for education.

The bills are currently in conference committee and both legislators acknowledged that the legislation that is signed into law by Gov. Mark Dayton may be very different than the bills passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

"I can fill you in on where we are in the process," Gimse said. "Where we end up is anyone's guess."

Gimse noted that the Senate bill increases per-pupil funding by $112 to $115 in the next biennium. Anderson noted an $80 per student increase.

Carlson was quick to note that other portions of the legislation place limits on special education funding, essentially negating that additional revenue by requiring districts to continue to subsidize special education with general fund dollars.

Board chairman Robert Moller questioned if the elimination of racial integration funding, a key provision in the House bill, would impact the district, which receives about $150,000 per year in integration funding.

Anderson noted that in his understanding of the bill, that Minneapolis and St. Paul would lose the funding, but outstate districts would not lose integration funding, which would become "innovation aid" for those districts.

Anderson, who is on the agriculture and rural development finance committee, noted that he takes the first budget bill signed by Dayton as a good sign. The ag bill, always the first budget bill to go before the governor, was signed April 15.

"In signing the ag bill, (Dayton) showed that he's willing to compromise, to meet somewhere in the middle," Anderson said.

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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