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Benson School Board reviews, takes public comments on $100K in budget reductions

BENSON -- During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Benson School board took comments from the public on about $100,000 in budget reductions.

According to Superintendent Lee Westrum, the cuts include eliminating the full-time high school secretary, full-time media coordinator and half-time high school choir teacher. All three positions will be open due to attrition and therefore eliminate the need for layoffs, Westrum said. The reductions would leave an estimated deficit of $96,900 for the 2010-11 school year, which could be covered by reserve funds. The district's budget is about $11 million per year.

The board is expected to take action on the budget reductions at its April 19 meeting.

The elimination of the choir teacher position leaves the district with three music teachers, who would realign to allow the elementary music teacher to take on the choir direction, Westrum said. The cut will mean a reduction in individual and small-group lessons for students.

In other action, the board:

- Reviewed the district's technology needs and purchases and learned that a mobile laptop lab, a cart with 30 laptops and wireless access, and 21 computers in the district's computer-aided design lab will be purchased and installed this summer. The district will also replace a server.

- Discussed changing the district's ECFE preschool classes from three half-day classes per week to two full-day classes per week. No action was taken, Westrum said, as administrators and teachers must consider the logistics of the change, and how it relates to the early childhood special education programs.

- Authorized seeking quotes on an estimated $93,000 in roof repairs to be completed on the high school building.

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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