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BEA school budget showing $323K shortfall

By Staff | May 19, 2008

The Blue Earth Area School Board approved a proposed budget for 2009 and it includes a deficit.

Preliminary figures show an overall shortfall of $323,148.

“We’re comfortable with that. No staff cuts will be made at this point,” says Superintendent Dale Brandsoy.

In fact, the board Monday night approved full-time contracts for two middle school teachers and filled a position left vacant due to retirement.

About $231,000 of the deficit, says the superintendent, is spending that district officials can control.

Brandsoy says with recent teacher retirements about $150,000 has already been slashed from the budget.

School officials are expected to dip into the district’s reserves of $3.8 million to make up the difference.

Following an audit in January, the budget will be revised.

Brandsoy says “a lot of variables” make it difficult to put together a budget. He says student enrollment, rising fuel costs and food prices are hard to predict.

He says adding a class through Project Lead The Way and expanding other programs have added to the district’s education costs.

Board members are required to have a budget in place by July 1.

In other business, Brandsoy briefed the board on an unannounced audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on May 5.

“It went very well. The representative was very complimentary to Al (Gieser) and his staff,” says Brandsoy.

Gieser, the district’s maintenance supervisor, spent the day working with the OSHA official.

Minor deficiencies found have already been addressed, says Brandsoy.

The representative was thorough in checking records, he says, and a final report should be ready in two or three weeks.

In other action, the board:

• Tabled a vote on whether to proceed with the District Strategic Plan. A four-hour work session is scheduled for June 16 so board members can discuss the benefits of the plan.

• Was presented a lease agreement between the district and city for the Little Luke’s expansion. Brandsoy called the document “a very cooperative agreement.”

He says opening of the facility will be delayed until mid-July because the United States Agriculture Department is reques-ting more forms be completed.