Litchfield School Board approves revised budget, starts discussion on activity fees and admission
LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield School Board has approved a revised budget for 2006-2007. The revision approved Monday at the regular meeting reflects fund decreases because of $250,000 in unexpected special education billings received from other sc...
LITCHFIELD -- The Litchfield School Board has approved a revised budget for 2006-2007.
The revision approved Monday at the regular meeting reflects fund decreases because of $250,000 in unexpected special education billings received from other school districts, according to Bill Wold, Litchfield's superintendent. The district's annual budget is about $17 million.
District representatives and state Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, are meeting and talking with state Education Department officials on the issue, Wold added. Changes to the billing system for special education services are creating financial winners and losers among school districts, he said. Litchfield is not alone on the losing side of the equation.
"We aren't the only 'loser' in the state," he said. "Other districts are too. Some of them have a greater loss."
The board also began discussion on the district's activity fees and admission prices but took no action on the matter. Litchfield has the lowest fees and event admission prices in the Wright County Conference, Wold said. The district's activity fee for high school students is $50 per activity with a $100 cap; for middle school students the fee is $25 per activity with a $50 cap. The admission fees are $2 for students and $4 for adults.
The fees have not changed for a long time, Wold added, because the board's philosophy has been to allow as many students to participate as possible by keeping the fees low. However, with future budget changes and lower enrollments expected, the district may have to increase the fees, he said.
The median price for activity prices in the Wright County Conference is $85 for high school activities and $59 for middle school activities. Those prices do not include the newest school in the nine-school conference, Orono, because that school's fees are significantly higher than the other eight schools, Wold said.
In other action Monday, the board heard a report that the Litchfield City Council and Meeker County Board of Commissioners have agreed to have two representatives serve on an intergovernmental group regarding Bernie Aaker Auditorium. Two school board members will also serve as members of the group, which will begin meeting in March to discuss the future of the aging facility. Wold Architects, the school's architectural firm, will facilitate the meetings, Wold said.
The school leases the 1930s auditorium from the county, which uses the rest of the building for office space. The city contributes funds for maintenance.
The auditorium hosts school plays, performances and many community activities, but it needs electrical upgrades, paint and other improvements. Voters turned down $1.5 million to improve the auditorium in 2004. The funding was included in a $20 million school district bond issue.