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Lake Superior School District looks to eliminate deficit spending that began in 2012

The Lake Superior School District's fiscal year 2016 preliminary budget shows a positive general fund balance for the first time since 2011.

The School Board was presented with two different FY16 budgets at a special meeting Wednesday. Because the district doesn't know if they will be operating under a four-day week school year or a five-day week school year, a budget was made for each scenario. Under the four-day week the district would have a positive general fund balance of $246,846. Under the five-day week the district would have a positive general fund balance of $81,846.

"It's a very positive situation that the district is in where we can now, instead of looking at what program we'll have to eliminate or how we're going to have to consolidate kids because we have to reduce staff to the role of where can we make investments," said Superintendent Bill Crandall. "We're looking at investing in our curriculum, and it's very needed because that's one area that we've been reducing in and not investing in since 2011."

The major increase in revenue that has put the general fund balance in the positive is the levy increase that the School Board approved in December, raising the per pupil amount from $424 to $724. Other revenue increases include state general education aid, state special education aid and the possible sale of property from where the old high school use to be due to an interested party.

The School Board will be given an update on the current budget year at the next regular meeting. According to district officials, even though the original FY15 budget was approved as a deficit it looks that the year may finish balanced do to funds owed to the district from a county land sale. The district is set to receive about $200,000 from county land sales from the Clair Nelson Memorial Forest. Because the exact amount is unknown and the district isn't sure when the money will come in, the funds weren't added to the budget.

The next regular School Board meeting is schedule for April 14 at 6 p.m. at the Two Harbors High School community room.

Adelle Whitefoot

Adelle Whitefoot is a Michigan native who moved to Minnesota in Sept. 2014 when she started as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle. She graduated from Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., in 2012 with a bachelor's in English writing and has been a professional photographer since 2011. Whitefoot is the night general assignments reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. 

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