The Lake Superior School District is predicted to have a 2018-19 deficit of $692,000 and is pursuing possible budget reductions to be applied to the 2019-20 budget to offset the deficit.
The School Board didn't make any definitive actions regarding budget reductions at its meeting Tuesday, May 14, at William Kelley High School. The board cited too many unknown factors as the reason for not taking action, and is waiting to hear about a few major decisions that will affect the budget:
• Whether the teachers' union will allow half of the 2 percent set aside in the general budget for staff development to go back into the fund.
• What health care plan the staff selects. If the more expensive plan is selected - worse-case scenario - an additional estimated $690,000 could be added to the deficit. If the other plan is selected, the district could see some savings.
• How much state aid districts will receive. The budget currently factors in a 1 percent increase in state aid. Gov. Tim Walz and the state House are proposing a 3 percent increase, while the Senate is proposing a 0.5 percent increase. The issue will hopefully be resolved prior to the next School Board workshop meeting June 3, provided a special legislative session isn't scheduled.
"There are still too many balls up in the air," School Board member Cyndi Ryder said.
Some of the reductions being proposed to offset the deficit include:
• Building and capital supplies;
• Paraprofessional reductions
• Reducing the sixth-grade sections at William Kelley and Two Harbors high schools;
• Custodial changes and bus route changes;
• A proposed district-wide 2 percent reduction in athletics;
• Classes could be cut if they contain fewer than six or possibly 12 students, depending on how many reductions are needed.
The board agreed to take a deeper dive into the budget at its workshop meeting June 3.