Board will look at budget cuts for 2009-10

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

The New Prague Area School Board will be looking at areas to cut in its 2009-10 budget.

Superintendent Craig Menozzi updated board members on the status of the district's budget during his report to the board. He said with the state's current fiscal situation, the district is not expecting an increase in per-student funding, and will lose the one-time $51 per student funding they had this year.

In order for the district to reach its goal of having a 2 percent budget reserve, he said that some reductions will be made.

He went over a timeline and communication plan for the budget process. Included are question and answer sessions with various employee groups.

Menozzi said during the next two months, administration will keep the board updated on cash balance and general fund balance as well as provide enrollment updates.

He added that when the district begins working on a long-term strategic plan, it would include a goal regarding fiscal management.

Menozzi said there would be three main themes when considering budget adjustments. They include maintaining quality district programs, maintaining reasonable class size and providing support for instruction.

He said he and Finance Director Dan Pyan plan to have a list of proposed budget reductions by the March 9 meeting, for the board to adopt at its March 23 meeting.

Facilities task force

Menozzi updated the board on the facilities task force. He said the group would have one more meeting and then have a presentation for the board in February.

Curriculum

High school principal Tom Doig requested the board to approve two new classes for the high school curriculum. They are Introduction to Engineering and College in the Schools (CIS) Biology.

Reorganization

Bob Reed was reelected as chairman of the school board. Marty Beckius was named vice chair, Dennis Havlicek clerk and Don Dvorak treasurer.

The board also took care of other reorganization matters at its first meeting of 2009. They decided to continue meeting at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, with exceptions for Memorial Day, Columbus Day and the December meetings.

In setting up committees, the board decided to have one negotiations committee to handle all contracts. This would provide for more consistency in negotiations. In the past there were two different board members on the committee for each negotiation group. Members are Beckius, Dan Carlson and Jerry Walerius.

The board also chose other committees. This includes the Policy and Philosophy committee (Dvorak and Larry Pint), Strategic Leadership (Reed, Havlicek and Pint) and Executive Board (Reed and Beckius). Havlicek was named the district's representative on the boards of the Minnesota River Valley Special Education Cooperative and the Scott Family Net.

Board members also voted to keep their pay at the same level as last year.

The board members designated legal counsel and official depositories for district funds, and designated The New Prague Times and the school district's website as the official publication forums.

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