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Lake Superior School Board talks possible cuts

The Lake Superior School District Board of Education discussed the administration's recommendations for cuts at their meeting Tuesday, April 10 in an effort to reduce the deficit.

Superintendent Bill Crandall explained the administration plans to offset the $679,108 deficit through the retirement of three teachers: one from William Kelley and two from Minnehaha Elementary School. Those three teaching positions will not be replaced.

The district also expects to save money by using fewer paraprofessionals, consolidating two bus routes and losing a temporary Teacher on Special Assignment — a licensed teacher assigned to duties other than classroom instruction.

But those measures would still leave the district $332,858 in the red.

Additional cuts could include the consolidation of more than the proposed two bus routes, a teacher retirement incentive and postponing maintenance projects, like a new track surface at Two Harbors High School and a new parking lot surface at William Kelley.

"We can't do that. You have to get the work done so you can maintain the facilities," board member Cyndi Ryder said during the meeting.

District staff, including a number of teachers from Minnehaha, observed the meeting in the District Office Community Room at Two Harbors High School.

Crandall requested the board provide direction for the reductions. The Tuesday meeting was only a discussion, but the board is expected to vote during its May 1 meeting.

Several board members said they fear fewer teaching positions could lead to higher class sizes.

"Small class size is kind of the holy grail," board member Al Ringer said.

Crandall explained that the administration is trying to ensure any cuts have minimal impact to the classrooms.

"The reason we're at this point is because we as a school district have added teachers to keep class sizes small, which I think is outstanding," Crandall said.

Jimmy Lovrien

Jimmy Lovrien is a reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. He spent the summer of 2015 as an intern for the Duluth News Tribune and was hired full time in October 2017 as a reporter for the Weekly Observer. He also reported for the Lake County News-Chronicle in 2017-18. Lovrien grew up in Alexandria, Minn., but moved to Duluth in 2013 to attend The College of St. Scholastica. Lovrien graduated from St. Scholastica in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in English and history. He also spent a summer studying journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

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