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District 2155 board trims another $428,080 from 2010-11 budget

The Wadena-Deer Creek 2155 School Board approved capital improvements of $195,000 and budget reductions of $428,080 Monday evening for the 2010-11 school year.

Capital requests for technology came to $134,800 and included the purchase of 94 computer systems at $620 per unit for a total of $58,280. The computers will replace models purchased in 2003. The board wants to replace two-thirds of the systems this year and the remainder next year when the district will have increased revenue from last year's referendum vote.

More than $700,000 in capital requests were made to superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom, who presented the board with $206,194 in requests.

The bulk of budget reductions ($362,300) will come from reducing and cutting the time of classroom teachers in nine different sections including German, Family and Consumer Science, elementary art, high school shop, high school business, social studies, English, K-12 music and trimming the number of first- and third-grade sections from four to three.

"We're working to keep our younger teachers," said Dahlstrom. "Some of the half-time positions will be eliminated."

Final decisions regarding personnel will be determined at the April meeting.

Two WDC secondary instructors, Curt Grenier and Sandy Bain, will be retiring at the end of the school year. Grenier is a shop instructor and Bain is a business instructor.

The board voted to re-hire business manager Jerry Anderson at 30 percent of full-time. Anderson is effectively an employee of the district as of March 15. He announced his retirement at the January meeting of the board and Dahlstrom said she interviewed several candidates to fill the position.

Still looming over the district is the possibility that the state of Minnesota will not be returning $2.5 million in state aid to District 2155. The state has had to "shift" the funding because of current financial problems. The district has borrowed $2 million to cover operating expenses. Other area districts have also borrowed money.

Dahlstrom recently met with area state legislators in St. Paul but they have not been able to give her a definite answer about when, or even if, the state will be able to repay the funds. The legislative session ends at the end of May.

District bookkeeper Joyce Boyne recently "ordered" $350,000 in stimulus money. Part of Minnesota's state aid dollars have been replaced by the federal funds.