The Lake Superior School Board approved the preliminary 2019-20 district budget at a meeting Tuesday, June 11. The decision was unanimous; board members Tom Burns and Dean Korri were absent.

Business manager Sara Girard presented the board with some welcome news to the tune of $934. After several meetings discussing cuts and various plans to address the projected $693,000 deficit at the end of the 2018-19 school year, the 2019-20 budget is in the black by $934.

"So, we made it," Girard said.

Girard reminded board members that the document was subject to change.

"This is still a living document. There are things that we still don’t know. And more or less, it’s already wrong as of tomorrow," she said. "Not to be pessimistic, but because we don’t know where negotiations are going to settle, we don’t know if we have an increased or decreased student population coming in."

As of the board workshop meeting, several reductions and changes had brought the deficit down to $71,000. These included staffing changes, reductions in supplies and capital discretionary funds per school and paraprofessional reductions.

Board members provided direction June 3 to pursue three additional items to bring the deficit down to zero: custodial reductions, transportation changes and a proposed district-wide 1 percent reduction in extracurricular activities.

Girard said the budget presented to the board included the 1 percent extracurricular reduction and transportation changes. By taking a closer look at these two items, Girard said the reduction in custodial was deemed unnecessary for the time being.

With this budget in place, the district is predicted to have a fund balance at 11 percent. The state of Minnesota doesn't have a minimum fund balance percentage requirement in place for districts, as long as the fund balance is above zero. The Minnesota School Board Association recommends 17 percent or enough to keep the district operating for two months independently.

"Some districts live off of 10 percent," Girard said. "The district I came from previously is currently living on 3 percent, and that’s really scary. But the state mostly requires that it’s more than zero."