School board OKs first in series of cuts

Community Editor

The first round of cuts to the Forest Lake Area School District’s 2017-18 school year were finalized at the Feb. 2 school board meeting, with $775,000 in reductions, including to district personnel, being approved.

At the Dec. 1, 2016 meeting of the Forest Lake Area School Board, board members voted to direct the administration to make budget reductions in the amount of $2.5 million for the 2017-18 school year to correspond with projected budget revenues. The first of those cuts were announced on Feb. 2. More cuts are expected to be announced on and leading up to April 6.

The current running total of announced cuts comes to $775,000, which leaves $1.725 million that will need to be cut. Cuts announced Feb. 2 include an assistant principal position at the secondary level at $150,000, one of two teaching and learning coordinators at $120,000, multiple Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services grant positions at $375,000, two FTE reading recovery teachers at $50,000, and multiple secondary building department chairs at $80,000.

“These are difficult decisions,” Superintendent Linda Madsen said in an email directed to all staff. “As always, the school board appreciates your professionalism and commitment, as do I, and continues to work to bring adequate funding to our district.”

More information about the cuts, along with a story on the district’s place in the state school funding formula, will be published in a future issue.

Superintendent search

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the qualities they would like to see in a new school district superintendent through a variety of formats over the upcoming month. The new superintendent will replace Linda Madsen, who is retiring this summer. The information collected from the public and staff will help direct the school board in the qualities its looking for and the questions it asks candidates.

Community input sessions will be held 6:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Forest Lake High School Media Center.

Residents can also complete an online survey about what they feel would qualify someone to be the district’s superintendent at or by emailing [email protected] Hard copies of the survey can also be picked up at the district office (6100 210th St. N).

Surveys must be completed and returned to the district by Feb. 19.

– Ryan Howard contributed to this report.