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Freshwater education dealing with cuts of its own

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

The Freshwater Education District is facing changes this year along with the 13 school districts that it serves.

With schools facing the possibility of a 7 percent cut in funding, Freshwater has placed 29 staff members and 20 targeted service/credit recovery people on unrequested leave.

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Freshwater has also taken steps to place 14 of their staff members along with 33 targeted services/credit recovery people on non-renewal.

Freshwater is looking at the possibility of contract reductions for 16 staff members and voluntary reductions for five staff members.

"We have to put a number of people on unrequested leave," Executive Director Bruce Lund said. "It's kind of an insurance thing. Most of the time those people are called back."

The present uncertainty has made the situation this year "unique" according to Lund.

"We have declining enrollments," Lund pointed out. "We have looked at our budget very closely and we are going to be about $250,000 short."

That situation may change during the summer.

For Freshwater employees being placed on unrequested leave, the situation is a little more unstable than what it is for a school district because what a school district chooses to be involved with effects Freshwater's staffing.

"The tough part of unrequested leave is that you're really jerking people around," Lund said.

Freshwater depends on the majority of its funding from the districts it serves. It is also funded in part by the state. Until the amount of that funding is clear, Freshwater will not know what it will have to do to deal with the situation.

"At this point in time I don't see us cutting any staff," Lund said. "I see days of staff being cut."

While Freshwater provides the special education teachers for local districts they also provide tutoring.

Targeted Services is a state-funded program which kids go to get after-school and summer tutoring.

"We run the program but all our of school districts have it and their staff run it," Lund said.

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