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New London-Spicer, Minn. school board makes budget revisions

NEW LONDON -- The New London-Spicer School Board on Monday approved revisions to the 2011-2012 school year budget and accepted retirement letters from four elementary teachers.

The budget revisions are expected to result in an unrestricted fund balance of $116,211 on June 30, according to a budget overview presented by Todd Netzke, certified public accountant and owner of School Management Services, the district's business management service.

The district's unrestricted general fund balance was $109,112 on June 30, 2011. However, the district's total general fund is expected to drop from $212,996 from last June 30 to $48,864 at the end of this fiscal year, largely due to higher teacher salaries and capital expenditures, including reading curriculum for all grades, and necessary building maintenance projects.

The district's total annual revenue is projected at $16,151,929 and total expenditures projected at $16,466,315 this year.

The board also accepted letters of retirement from elementary teachers Jacki Orson, Mary Semmler, Gloria Meier and Susan Rowerdink.

Superintendent Paul Carlson noted that Orson served the district for 24 years, Semmler for 23 years, Meier for 19 years in her last stint at the district since returning from teaching overseas and Rowerdink for 33 years.

The board also accepted the letter of resignation from golf coach Ann Roguske and delayed action on discontinuing the junior high golf coaching position until the March 26 meeting. The delay should allow officials time to determine how many middle schoolers sign up for the spring golf season. Discontinuing the position was considered because of reduced participant numbers in the middle and high school golf program, 44 students in 2011 compared to 63 students in 2010.

The board also continued discussion on budget cuts for the 2012-13 school year. High School principal Kevin Acquard advised the board that almost all of the high school students had completed registration and that discussions with teachers will continue to determine where cuts are made at the high school level.

The proposed budget cuts there include $34,142 for a 0.5 full-time equivalent Spanish teacher, $77,349 for 1.6 FTE of high school teaching staff in yet-to-be determined areas and $19,540 for sixth-class pay, the additional pay teachers receive for teaching additional class periods.

Carlson also reported that the estimated $47,891 in special education cuts under consideration is a conservative number. The district is continuing to evaluate special education needs, he said.

Activities director John Vraa noted that there are lots of communications between schools regarding activity fees. The budget proposal includes raising $14,225 in revenue by raising fees. NLS is above the mid-point, based in comparison to similar sized districts, Vraa said, but is not the highest. He reported that most schools will likely raise fees this year.

The board has a goal of $130,000 to $200,000 in budget reductions. A final decision on the cuts is expected on April 9.

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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