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BEA makes $425,364 in cuts

By Staff | Apr 14, 2019

BEA High School principal Greg Ewing, left, addressed the BEA Board.

Proposed budget cuts for the 2019-20 school year dominated the discussion at the Blue Earth Area School Board meeting on Monday, April 8. The meeting was held in the multi-purpose gymnasium at the elementary school to accommodate the larger-than-normal crowd in attendance.

Public input included Tate Thielfoldt, a senior at BEA, who gave copies of a petition signed by BEA High School students expressing their support for keeping the social studies position at the high school.

Other speakers at the meeting expressed their concerns over the loss of physical education options and elementary class size concerns.

Each person who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting acknowledged the School Board faced tough decisions.

Interim superintendent Jerry Jensen reviewed the proposed cuts which totaled $507,847. Following a lengthy discussion the board passed a motion which reduced the proposed cuts to $425,364. Removed from the cuts was one elementary teacher position and a .5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in the high school social studies department.

The reductions did include the elimination of four teaching positions. This will be accomplished by not replacing four teachers, two who are retiring and two who have requested leave.

One bus route will be eliminated because of the budget cuts. In addition, the reduction resulted in the cutting of teachers on call, Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment proctors, tech coaches and cutting 2.4 paras.

Finally, one technology integration position will be reduced from .6 FTE to .2 FTE.

The cuts made by the board do not eliminate the deficit. Current projections indicate the budget deficit will be between $500,000 and $600,000.

There are still unknowns which will dictate the final deficit.

“The legislature has not passed an education bill yet so we still do not know what the school funding will be,” Jensen explained.

Blue Earth Area’s general fund balance as of June 30, 2019, is estimated to be $2,408,456.

The School Board had other financial matters to deal with and awarded a bid for roof repair at the high school to the low bidder, Nieman Roofing Company. The estimated cost of the project was $100,000 but the bid came in under projections at $94,800.

Moving on to other reports, Greg Ewing, the high school principal, stated the ACT test is scheduled to be taken on April 24 and prom is to be held on Saturday, April 27. Ewing also informed the board the Minnesota Department of Transportation and Minnesota State Troopers will be presenting a video to the high school students dealing with the use of hands-free devices and seat belts.

A discussion was held on the snow days legislation but the board opted to leave the current schedule with the additional 20 minutes per day in place with no changes.

In other business:

The board approved a contract with Bob?Hanson as a driver’s education instructor.

Leave requests were approved for Carissa Maday for Sept. 3, 2019, to Jan. 24, 2020, for Becky Anderson from Aug. 26, 2019, to June, 2024 and for Chelsea Thayer for the 2019-20 school year.

The board approved the retirement of Sheri Anderson as an elementary paraprofessional.

The resignation of custodian Molly Halvorson was approved.