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USC also cuts arts position

By Staff | Mar 26, 2017

Blue Earth Area is not the only school district making alterations to its classes due to a lack of kindergarten students in regards to classroom projections for next year.

United South Central has also decided to make adjustments not only to their art teaching contract, but their math and physical education teaching contracts as well.

At their regular meeting last Tuesday evening, the USC School Board approved three resolutions relating to the termination and nonrenewal of three teaching contracts of three separate probationary teachers.

There was no public input on the matter.

The positions involved in the resolutions included a .33 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) high school art teaching position, a high school math teaching position, as well as an elementary physical education/health teaching position.

According to the resolutions the School Board passed, both the art and math positions may not be refilled “because of a decrease in enrollment,” causing the potential discontinuance of two of the three teaching positions.

The elementary physical education and health teaching position, however, states it may not renew its contract with probationary teacher Adam Slander “because of failure to meet the district’s expectations.”

“Any decision to either replace or eliminate positions will take place at the April meeting with the approval of the staffing plan,” said Superintendent Keith Fleming. “We will likely be recommending the elementary PE?position be refilled.”

With the topic of enrollment and budgets fresh on the tongues of School Board members, a first, and very preliminary, review of the 2017-18 budget for USC?also took place.

USC’s finance manager Stacie Whiteside informed the board there could be a decrease in state aid of about $17,000 but said not to panic as these preliminary budget numbers and potential decreases have not even gone through legislation yet.

“We will have to see how everything ends up in legislation,” she said. “I’ve estimated everything in our budget on the conservative side since these preliminary budgets are always a moving target.”

According to Fleming, the school is projecting a capital fund balance of $108,000 at the end of the year. They are also projecting $97,000 in revenue and another $9,900 in capital aid revenue for a total capital budget of roughly $215,000. And USC already has plans for those dollars.

“The annual costs we’re projecting will have some expenses of an on-going basis and in this projection we included some line items for instructional equipment, technology equipment, as well as one to one student lease devices. We developed a list of buildings and grounds improvements, stadium repairs, a few building upgrades, new classroom furniture,” said Fleming, giving a laundrylist of potential improvements for the 2017-18 school year. “We have some future considerations or recommendations that we may not act on but can plan for, and also projects where we look for some other funding options.”

Fleming informed the board he would be bringing a formal recommendation for the General Fund budget to the April meeting.

One of USC’s expenditures this year, however, will include the purchase of a 77-passenger bus, which has already received three bid options. Fleming informed the board the lowest of the three bids they received was $85,840. The School Board approved the bus purchase unanimously.

The USC School Board also went into a closed session, lasting about 25 minutes, to discuss the sale of property at the old school site.

In the board packet, a USC old property sale official request was filled out by the Wells Housing Redevelopment Authority.

The application stated the HRA offered $50,000 for the lot as well as an additional lot quoted as the “Brown” lot. The HRA’s intended use of the property is for residential housing. On the back of the HRA’s application, it states, “The HRA’s proposal includes all of Block 2 so long as the tennis courts (lot 12), lighting and fencing are removed from the property at an expense to the school.”

After the board came out of closed session, a formal motion was made by board member Jon Feist.

“I’d like to make a motion that the board gives authority to Superintendent Fleming to engage the Wells HRA to develop a final written purchase agreement for board review and approval,” stated Feist.

With that motion, and a second, the board’s final minutes involved approval of the motion.