Budget reductions, resignations, extended school year fill board meeting

At Monday night’s meeting the Hills-Beaver Creek School Board made budget reductions for the 2013-14 school year.

The reductions were proposed at a meeting earlier in the month and introduced to families via a letter from Superintendent Todd Holthaus.

The reductions will result in a $150,000 savings and help the district recover from operating under Statutory Operating Debt.

At the meeting Holthaus withdrew his recommendation to reduce the district’s speech language position. He explained that additional caseload had been added in the last two weeks.

The board formally approved resolutions to reduce programs and personnel.

Chairman Harley Fransman cast the only dissenting vote on a resolution not to renew Corrina Erickson’s probationary elementary principal contract.

In lieu of a K-6 principal position, the current superintendent/secondary principal, Todd Holthaus, would assume the position of superintendent/K-12 principal.

He will be assisted by two Teachers On Special Assignment. These individuals would assist at the elementary and high school. A full-time TOSA would be at the elementary school and a part-time TOSA at the junior/senior high. This change would bring the district a net $55,598 savings over the current situation. 

Later in the meeting the board created the TOSA position at the elementary school.

Additional reductions are as follows:

•Sara Oldre’s media specialist position by .5 FTE, saving $27,449;

•Mary Petersen’s art specialist position by .37 FTE, saving $18,277;

•Dale Nelson’s instructional music position by .20 FTE, saving $14,787;

•Greg DeWandel’s agriculture sciences position by .19 FTE of his current .890 FTE contract, saving $16,737;

•discontinue boys’ and girls’ cross country program and instructor;

•move maintenance of district website in-house, a $3,200 reduction.

At an earlier meeting the board approved a reduction to the Little Patriot Academy program and position that resulted in a $14,309 budget reduction.

Holthaus hopes to present a preliminary budget for the 2013-14 school year at the board meeting on May 13.


Personnel changes

The board accepted resignations from both the head and assistant volleyball coaches.

Head coach Mary Jo Graphenteen and assistant coach Chris Nowatzki sent a letter saying, “It was our pleasure to help the last few years.”

The board also added two positions for the 2013-14 school year.

Based on incoming enrollment numbers for the kindergarten program, the board approved adding one FTE kindergarten teacher. The district had 33 students attend their kindergarten roundup in late March.

They approved adding one FTE position for a Teacher on Special Assignment at the elementary school. This individual will work on curricular items, school-wide student management and other items as directed by the superintendent.

These positions were created but not filled. Holthaus will begin the process of finding individuals to fill the positions and bring  recommendations for hire to the board.


School year extended

Due to recent school closings the board acted to extend the school year to Friday, May 17, for student contact days and Monday, May 20, for a staff workday.

The extension is a result of school contact days that were canceled due to weather.

The district had two weather days built into their calendar but has canceled class four times: on Jan. 31, April 9, 10 and 11.

The calendar change does not affect seniors.


In other board news:

•Holthaus attended the Blue Cross Blue Shield MNSW/WC Health Insurance Meeting on Wednesday, April 17. The district’s insurance rates are scheduled to increase 24 percent for the upcoming school year.

He is working with the district’s provider and staff to see if changes can be made to reduce the increase.

•The annual spring Flexible Learning Year Perception Survey will be posted to parents in the near future. They are encouraged to participate.

•The board accepted two donations: $100 from Elizabeth Griffin for the George and Luella Schlueter Scholarship Fund and $1,000 from Fritz and Martha Nuffer for the Fritz and Martha Nuffer Scholarship Fund.

•The board moved their meeting from Monday, May 27, 2013, to Tuesday, May 28, 2013, in observance of Memorial Day.

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