More adjustments made to Stillwater area schools budget

In an effort to balance next year’s budget, the Stillwater Area School Board approved nearly $1.5 million in budget adjustments at its March 27 meeting.

Some of the largest adjustments include: 

• a $450,000 transfer from the capital budget to the general fund

• a $300,000 reallocation of Bridge to Excellence funding to other budget areas

• an increase of $158,000 from the post-retirement benefit trust to pay retiree costs.

Also included in the latest round of budget adjustments is $358,000 in funding reductions at Withrow and Marine elementary schools, which have declining enrollments, and at St. Croix Valley Area Learning Center. 

Cuts to the Area Learning Center’s budget will be the largest at $250,000, followed by Marine at $72,164 and Withrow at $35,868.

The District 834 board approved several minor budget adjustments, including cuts to the district’s marketing and communications budget and a reduction in consulting, external trainings, memberships and printing costs at Central Services.

“These are not easy decisions,” board chair Tom Lehman said in a written statement. “Change remains difficult, and not everyone will be happy with the choices we’ve made. But I know our community is resilient and passionate. And now that the decision is made, we’ll work together to do the best we can for our kids with resources available.”

These adjustments follow $1 million in staffing reductions and about $1.7 million in one-time funding delays and shifts approved on March 13.

The $1 million in staff reductions means up to 30 teachers could be laid off. That number is based on current enrollment projections and is subject to change.

“The closer you get to the (next) school year, the more those numbers firm up. It’s very possible we could hire back some of those teachers if enrollment numbers change,” finance director Kristen Hoheisel said.

Hoheisel said she does not expect any further budget adjustments will be made for the 2014-15 school year, however, about $3 million will have to be made up in the following year, due to one-time shifts made in 2013-14 and 2014-15. She said in late spring the district would start the process of looking into what systematic changes may need to be made to create more efficiency in 2015-16.

Joshua Nielsen can be reached at jnielsen@lillienews.com or 651-748-7822.

 

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