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Ellsworth School Board reviews budget actions

The Ellsworth School Board Monday reviewed budgetary actions for the 2014-15 term and returned a tech ed position.

The middle/high school position had been a .25 post at a savings of $16,500. Superintendent Barry Cain recommended restoring it and the board approved his recommendation. Although a couple of others on the budget adjustment list were also discussed for potential restoration, members decided to leave those alone for the possible application of alternative compensation.

Earlier, Board Member Dan Kaler reported 4YK enrollment for this fall hasn’t kept up with the past, cautioning these numbers will have to be monitored and suggesting adjustment reversals should be held to a minimum due to this downward trend.

Cain explained the adjustment list totals $1,121,800 in reductions, but also includes additional cost avoidance measures plus even some budgetary cost increases, placing the net budgetary reduction amount at $1,021,800. Projecting into the future, he foresees an approximately $768,000 deficit for next year even with these actions implemented.

“The public has to understand we can’t cut our way out of it,” he said.

On the approved list and the corresponding savings (aside from the now-reinstated tech ed position) are: staff retirements, $100,000; employee health insurance change (approved by the board earlier during Monday’s meeting), $110,000; middle school administrative reduction (half-time assistant principal), $33,000; special education speech and language staffing, $20,000; special education physical therapy (contract services), $15,000; high school alternative education staffing, $31,000; middle/high school phy ed staffing, $60,000; high school science department .33 position, $12,200; high school social studies department .25 position, $18,000; high school English department .32 position, $20,000; high school special education department (one position), $54,000; four-year-old kindergarten (one position), $54,000; textbook and consumable budget reduction, $30,000; maintenance/transportation/custodial budget reductions, $366,100; mechanic insurance cost reduction, $17,000; student accident insurance eliminated, $15,000; and technology budget reduction, $150,000.

The additional cost avoidance measures regard the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) program elimination and curriculum implementation—delay of approved curriculum proposals, $32,000.

The budgetary cost increases regard these elementary staffing factors: SAGE program elimination, grade two staff increase and grade five staff increase (both due to student enrollment), $100,000.

For more please read the June 11 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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