State impasse leaves school budget in limbo

Chuck Kajer, Managing Editor

New Prague Area Schools has a 2009-10 general fund budget all set to go. All it needs is a resolution by the school board.

But that resolution will have to wait. The New Prague Area School Board decided to withhold approval until they get a better idea of the levels of funding from the state legislature.

With just days remaining in the legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature has yet to pass a school funding bill that Gov. Tim Pawlenty will sign. Until that happens, board members are going to wait on approval.

Dan Pyan, district finance director, asked the board at its meeting Monday evening to consider approving a preliminary budget that factors in no change in state funding. However, board member Larry Pint said he had reservations about approving a budget when more cuts may be needed.

Board member Dan Carlson asked what the ramifications were if the board were to hold off on approving the budget. Pyan said the main issue would be that without an appropriation, no purchasing could take place for the 2009-10 school year, and that could affect the price the district would pay on some items.

Pyan said he could prepare a resolution for the board for its next meeting that would appropriate a portion of the funds necessary for early purchases. The board had mixed feelings on it, but told Pyan to prepare such a resolution for consideration at the May 26 meeting.

In other matters

The budget wasn't the only matter tabled at the meeting. The board also tabled a request from Special Services Director Tony Buthe for the district to join the Carver-Scott Education Cooperative. The district has used programming from the co-op for years, but is not a member. The co-op is adjusting what it charges for non-member districts, and Buthe said joining could save money for the district.

The board asked for specific numbers, which Buthe and Pyan did not have available. The board tabled the matter until more information is available.

Another item left on the table was a request to hire two coaches for a high school dance team. The board was told that a group had come forward and asked to form a team that would compete in Minnesota State High School League competitions. There was no money for it in the activity budget, but Activities Director Brad Skogerboe suggested they go through Community Education.

Community Services Director Amy Eich said the entire cost of the team would be borne by participant fees and fundraisers, and that the coaches would be paid through the district with these funds. Board members asked for more information before approving the hire.

The board awarded dairy and baking bids and approved the food services budget for 2009-10. They also had year-end reports from Raven Stream principal Pat Pribyl and Falcon Ridge principal Barb Wilson.

Finalists announced for Eagle View principal

New Prague Area Schools has announced the five finalists for the Principal position at Eagle View Elementary School in Elko New Market. They are:

• Brad Gregor, assistant principal New Prague Middle School

• Paul Helberg, principal at Valley View Elementary School in Bloomington

• Mark Randall, principal at Southgate Elementary School in Austin

• Will Remmert, principal at Washington Elementary School in Mankato

• Kristine Scallon, instructional assistant at Rosemount Elementary School.

Finalist interviews are scheduled for today (Thursday, May 14) at Eagle View Elementary. Superintendent Craig Menozzi will be making a recommendation for hire to the New Prague Area School board at its May 26 meeting.

Eagle View Elementary Principal Joan Anderson is retiring at the end of the current school year.

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