District anticipates budget cuts
by AARON BROM
SUN PRESS Newspapers
The St. Michael-Albertville School Board approved forming a committee that will be tasked with figuring out the district’s future activity fees in light of expected budget decreases.
The board also approved the Q-Comp teacher pay program funded by the state, and took action on other issues.
Supt. Jim Behle said that with school funding not being equitable for schools like STMA, that over the next three to five years the board will be looking at funding all for the district programs.
“We anticipate we would need to make reductions in expenditures in the next three to five years,” Behle later said. “One of those areas would be activities.”
Behle proposed forming a committee comprised of a board member, parents, community members and coaches to review the district activity budget, participation, fees, fundraising and booster clubs. He said the committee would look at the program and funding, and come back with recommendations “on how best to sustain our activities program for next three to five years in light of potential budget cuts.”
High school athletic director Brian Benson, middle school athletic director Scott Sukalski and Behle will come back at the Oct. 21 board meeting to ask for the parameters of the committee, what’s the make up, what’s the charge of the committee, a timeline, and tasks for what they will make recommendations.
“I anticipate the committee will start in late March and meet three to four times and make recommendations to the board,” Behle said. “ It could include increasing fees. What percentage of the activity budget should come from education dollars, fees, and donations? What’s the best blend of funding for schools?”
He said the committee would be tasked with answering those questions.
In other matters, the board was updated on the state’s Q-Comp (Quality Compensation) program.
The state allots additional funding that districts can apply for improvement of staff development, implementing new teacher evaluation laws and revising alternative salary schedules.
The board approved applying to the program in April and was approved in August. The teacher union also approved it. With school board approval granted at this meeting, the program will be implemented in year 2014/15.
“It’s a pretty significant change,” Supt. Behle said.
The program will change the salary schedule so that lane steps are not based on years of experience but teacher evaluation.
A total of $950,000 from the state will go to teacher instruction improvement, performance pay, and teacher/building achievement goals. The board can decide in December whether it wants to assess local levy dollars for additional funding.
“That’s yet to be determined,” Behle said of the local levy decision.
In other action, the board:
ACCEPTED Supt. Behle’s recommendation on moving forward with the process of soliciting bids for land rental of the district’s 92.48 acres at County Rd. 119. The land will be available to bid for crop rental next summer for the 2014/15 season.
AUTHORIZED the district to expend up to one-third of the net cost of the hockey arena dehumidification and insulation repair improvement project. The school district and cities of Albertville and St. Michael co-own the hockey arena.