Le Sueur-Henderson Middle/High School

(News-Herald file photo)

The Le Sueur-Henderson School Board approved a final preliminary version of the 2019-20 Le Sueur-Henderson public schools budget on Monday. The budget cuts approximately $400,000 to lower the district’s deficit spending, but the cuts do not impact teachers or programming.

The largest source of budget cuts is in payroll with $368,498 of payroll spending removed from the budget. The majority of these payroll cuts comes from the elimination of certain positions at Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools. School Board Chair Brigid Tuck states that these cuts will not be eliminating current employees.

“No one in the school district received a non-renewal. No one was put on unpaid leave,” said Tuck. “What those cuts are primarily — we had a secretary retire and instead of refilling that position, we’re kind of rebalancing some of our secretarial pool to cover that position.”

“We also did not renew our technology,” Tuck said. “What we decided to do was go to a technology consulting contract. So our two technology people are not coming back, but we do have a technology contract now that we will be doing instead.”

Another change in payroll comes from the School Board’s choice to eliminate summer school. However, summer school will still be available for students enrolled in special education programs.

“We still are offering summer school for students who are in special ed. If they have an IEP (individual education plan) they will still be given their summer school services.” Tuck said.

The preliminary budget also includes added funds for a 1.5% increase in wages for returning staff and the step and lane schedule for returning teachers.

The district also plans to hire a full-time middle school and high school math teacher, a second-grade teacher and a tech coordinator.

Other budget changes include an added $50,000 for online classes, $4,250 cut from swimming and dance and $3,000 cut from athletics. According to the School Board, these changes are a result of past budgets underbudgeting online classes and overbudgeting on swimming and dance and athletics.

No major changes in funding for regular classes are included in the preliminary budget.

“We are not looking at any changes in terms of what we offer and we aren’t looking to reduce [classes],” said Tuck.

The board also decided against raising the budget for food service.

“The state mentioned as of this year … that if we had a positive fund balance in our food service program, that we would not have to look at increasing our fees,” Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools Business Manager Ky Battern told the School Board. “We were in the upper third of the districts for cost. I feel like our food service is healthy and not having any real reason to increase our budget … there was no reason to increase our fees along with everybody else.”

The budget projects that the cuts made will raise the public school’s unrestricted fund balance by 2.8% to a positive unrestricted fund balance of $761,081, meaning that Le Sueur-Henderson Public Schools would take in more revenue than they spent.

At the same Monday meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion to hire an assistant coach for cross country. The agenda stated that the motion was requested by Athletic Director Jeff Christ “for safety and supervision purposes should a situation arise where the head coach needs to attend to an emergency situation.”

The locations of School Board meetings have also been changed. Future regular board meetings will be held at the Le Sueur-Henderson High School media center. School board workshop meetings will be held at Hilltop Elementary School starting in August.

Reach Editor Philip Weyhe at 507-931-8567 or follow him on Twitter @EditorPhilipWeyhe.

Northfield News and Faribault Daily News reporter. Email at pweyhe@northfieldnews.com. Call at 507-333-3132.

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