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Cuts made, but it 'might be worse' at WDC

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Wadena, 56482
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Curiosity reigned over a large audience Monday night in the Wadena School Board meeting room.

With $590,000 in cuts needed to balance the budget for the 2009-10 school year, the board approved a resolution to either discontinue or reduce 10 educational programs and positions. The positions were:

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• Eliminate 1 bus driver.

• Eliminate all junior high coaching positions.

• Eliminate 2 assistant coaching positions.

• Eliminate 1.5 custodial positions.

• Eliminate .65 of a secretarial position.

• Eliminate .2 accounts payable position.

• Eliminate 7 FTE (Full-time Equivalent) paraprofessional positions.

• Eliminate 1 elementary media assistant position.

• Eliminate 2.37 FTE teaching positions.

• Eliminate curriculum development coordinator position.

Listening meetings, including one held last Thursday in the Wadena-Deer Creek High School Commons, have allowed the board to consider public input along with recommendations by the administration, for dealing with an expected shortfall.

The resolution will now be presented to the Minnesota Department of Education. Names will be attached to the cuts at the April 20 meeting of the board. The April 20 cuts will go into effect July 1.

The state's current financial crisis has exasperated the budget-cutting problems of school districts all over the state. No one is certain how much state aid is forthcoming. WDC Superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom cautioned the board that the state may not release the amount of their financial aid to schools until July. Financial aid is usually disbursed at the end of the school year, in late May or early June.

"I don't want anything to change because we made a vote on some personnel cuts, that was done because people need proper notice," WDC board member Dan Toedter said. "There are people that are not happy with some of these and they shouldn't be. If anybody has other ideas, keep bringing them forward. Some of the things we've discussed aren't implemented yet, they're still being discussed. Unfortunately this budget might not be the budget, it might be worse."

Board member Wayne Perkins echoed that disturbing possibility and urged the public and staffers in the audience to contact their state legislators with their concerns.

"If the state doesn't come through with 5 percent we have to cut a lot more," Perkins said.

The Wadena-Deer Creek school board heard elementary, secondary, grounds, technology and classroom capital requests for the 2009-10 school year.

The largest single request was $125,000 for roof replacement to the 1964 portion of the secondary building. The eight secondary building requests totaled $264,400. Four elementary school capital improvement requests came to $171,300. The five requests from the grounds staff came to $49,158 and included $29,708 for a skid loader with attachments. Four capital requests for technology amounted to $150,000.

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