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Verndale board working with Local 70 toward deal

A closed session for negotiation strategy capped the February meeting of District 818 school board Monday night in Verndale.

The board ratified a contract with the teaching staff at its November meeting. Board members are currently negotiating with Local 70 support staff and bus drivers and hope to have negotiations wrapped up before the March meeting.

Superintendent Paul Brownlow reported that at this point, it looks like there will be a $16,000 deficit in the food service fund at the end of the 2009-2010 school year. The board had asked Brownlow at the January meeting to look into the matter.

District 818's overall financial picture is a healthy one but with Minnesota Legislature talking about delaying payments to schools with good finances due to the state's poor cash flow, the board is taking a careful measure of their resources. According to Brownlow the district could see delayed payments for three dates in March and April of up to $416,654. The delayed payments would be restored May 30.

The district balance sheet for January showed an ending cash balance in the food service fund of a minus $30,194.99. The district's overall ending cash balance was $1,131,634.42.

Brownlow also reported that there is no need for an actuarial study of the district's Other Post-Employment Benefit liabilities. The district has limited OPEB liabilities. The district has a 403(B) plan but it has no health insurance plan which means it does not have many deferred expenses.

Dean of Students Justin Sperling informed the board that the spring testing schedule has been tentatively set. Testing will begin the second week of April and go through mid-May.

Sperling also reported meeting with a principal from Virginia at the January Minnesota Association of Secondary School Principals winter workshop. His school has students using their cell phones as an instructional tool and the concept is one that District 818 may want to implement in the future.