ACGC asks state for more time to resolve its budget problems

GROVE CITY -- The Minnesota Department of Education will be asked to give the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District more time to resolve its budget problems.

GROVE CITY -- The Minnesota Department of Education will be asked to give the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District more time to resolve its budget problems.

Superintendent Pamela Kyllingstad said school board members met Monday with Dr. Charles Speiker, from the Education Department, to discuss options for dealing with the district's statutory operating debt.

Schools in statutory operating debt don't have enough money in their net unreserved general fund to meet state financial standards. They are given three years to get out of debt, or face a takeover of the district by the state.

She said the first of the three-year time frame started after the budgeting process for the 2005-06 school year was already approved, which didn't allow for significant changes to be made then.

Kyllingstad said because the district is "demonstrating a good faith effort" to bring the district's finances in line, there was a good chance ACGC would be given another year to meet the deadline.


A formal request for the extension is expected to be submitted in the near future.

The school board had hoped part of the debt problem would be resolved with new revenue from proposed operating levies, but the last two levies were not approved by voters. Another levy request will go to voters on Feb. 13.

At their meeting, board members voted unanimously to reduce extracurricular activities to reduce the budget.

Those changes include shortening the junior high sports season to about eight events, eliminating high school cross country and eliminating high school non-conference golf meets.

Kyllingstad said there will be financial savings in coaches and transportation. "It's always a biggie when you put buses on the road," she said.

A number of classes at the Junior/Senior High School will also be reduced, eliminated or offered on a rotating basis. The details of those changes are in the student handbook that the board approved.

A motion to increase student activity fees was tabled until board members could view a comparison with neighboring schools, but lunch and breakfast fees were increased a dime each and the driver's education fee was increased to $300. The current fee is $195.

No one from the public spoke for or against the budget cuts or increased fees.


Kyllingstad said district residents were aware changes would be made if the levy wasn't approved but may not have been aware of the specific cuts.

In other action:

- The board certified the final 2007 general fund levy at $1,815,310.

- At the request of several parents, the board agreed to subsidize a full-time day care at South Elementary in Cosmos, starting Jan. 2.

- The board approved a resolution protesting the Minnesota State High School League's decision to place Mora and Milaca school districts in the same West Central Conference with ACGC. Kyllingstad said the long drive to those schools to compete in activities would be a hardship for ACGC.

Carolyn Lange is a features writer at the West Central Tribune. She can be reached at or 320-894-9750
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