Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Proposed ISD548 budget cuts

Don Perrin 218-863-1441 peldrg@loretel.net

Dianne Kimm 218-863-5627 dlkimm@loretel.net

Charlie Blixt 218-842-5442 charlie.blixt@agstatesgroup.com

Peter Sasso-Lundin 218-863-2949 psassolund@loretel.net

Kathy Ouren 218-842-5172 ourteam@prtel.com

Jon Karger 218-863-2400 jonkarger@loretel.net

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

First of all, shame on the Governor and Legislature for not funding education. Many School Districts are facing shortfalls.
Second: How do you find a half time math teacher and a half time science teacher when it is difficult to get full time ones?
Third: How can you add Administrative positions when you cut teaching staff?
Last check area schools Administrative positions have been reduced, not added to. Examples: Frazee has a Supt, a K-12 principal and a part time Activities Director; Barnesville has the Activities Director and the Elementary Principals combination; and according the paper, Waubun will be combining the Supt. job with the Elementary Principals job beginning in the Fall of 2008.
Through these possible cuts and additions will test scores rise and will a referendum pass?
Tough decisions need to be made. Contact your School Board members.

Anonymous said...

This hurts me to look at... I feel for those who know they are on the list, even though there are no names attached yet. I was cut from Pelican 2 years ago and it was horrible. This is not good for the community, the school, the students or the teachers.

Vicki Huck

Anonymous said...

Vicki is right .. this isn't good, and now the people being cut are veterans of our school system, and they all have children in our district that will pull their children out if they go else where.. does this make sense?
If our Media Center Specialist leaves.. what will happen to video production and Channel 5? What will Pelican have to offer to bring new students in? How much deeper can we cut? These are all questions we as a community need to be asking.
Please attend the coming school board meetings and ask questions!

Anonymous said...

I am taken back to see the proposal for an additional Assistant Principal position. Given the realities that our high school will soon face: lower numbers of students coming, soon-to-be-cut teachers who work directly with students, and deeper budget cutbacks coming next year; why would another pricey administrative layer make sense now? Do NOT sacrifice student opportunities for such a proposal. It is inevitable that our priorities will be compromised by upcoming sacrifices but table any ideas that reduce opportunities for students. Do all we can to retain those on the front lines; teachers who not only manage students in every corner of our schools but work face-to-face with them everyday.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7:49 PM but what about the social worker position? This would be our first district sponsored social worker position ever. Rough drafts of this person's job duties may include management duties of students at the elementary school. This makes no sense with a fraction of the students at the school's peak enrollment in the late 90's. How can this position be justified with teacher cuts? $53,000 is a salary slightly more than the total of two beginning teachers. Will it be another short lived program as money gets tighter? Contact your school board members.

Anonymous said...

Would you rather have the teacher have to deal with social work issues and have it take time away from what they are supposed to do, TEACH. As a parent, I think it's a good idea. Today isn't like the good old days when it comes to family responsibilites.

Anonymous said...

The teacher cuts I see proposed saddens me. I understand that if we are losing students, so “might” we need to lose teachers. That is very unfortunate. What confuses me is if we are losing teachers why would we think about hiring an assistant principal or a social worker. I would be excited about the possibility of both of these positions if we were adding students. We are past the years of large student numbers in the elementary school and soon will be in the high school. The district seemed to handle that flux of students well. That was only a few short years ago and we were a very diverse school back then, as we are now. So, why are we thinking of getting “top-heavy?” Isn’t it very possible that these positions will have to be cut in the very near future, like the following year? Again, I am not against having either an assistant principal or a social worker. I am a believer in both of these positions. Teachers are the blood-line to students. Teachers do social work in their every day job constantly. Teachers touch students every second of every day. A social worker and an assistant principal will see a small number of students daily. If class sizes can be lowered, teachers can handle most incidents that come up during the day and still do a quality job of teaching. That’s what they are trained to do; it’s a part of them. Cutting teachers and hiring anything else is a mistake. Teachers make the biggest impact on education and touch the most students. I would have a very hard time voting YES to a referendum this fall if we hire these 2 additional positions. The district can’t afford it at this time.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

It is not smart to hire a full time social worker at this time. It makes NO sense. That 53,000 could be spent to KEEP staff. Please contact your school board! We need to keep our staff and their children that are in our school district.
Everyone needs to attend the school board meetings and ask questions!

Anonymous said...

I've been looking at the proposed cuts and am having such a hard time with it. Here are a few things I've concluded.

If we do not get a new AD/AP we would be able to keep the Industrial Tech position. I see no cuts in the sports area on the proposed budget, so maybe those involved in the various sporting events would be able to help out where the Athletic Director was. I understand that this requires a lot of added time & effort, but we're tallking $$$$$ here and lots of it.

If we do not get a social worker, we would be able to keep the 1/2 Math & 1/2 Science positions. I feel that the District's main concern should be the teaching of our students. I understand that there are a lot of problems facing these students that need to be dealt with, but I don't believe this is our school's responsibility. Last time I checked, we have a counselor for the students on staff.

As for the study hall para ????? - my understand is this person will perhaps take over/help with the Channel 5 program and also I suppose run study hall for all those kids who won't have an industrial tech class to attend. Again, I can see several areas where this $20,000 could be better spent.

I understand the English Teacher is leaving on an extended leave of absence, the 2 Elementary Teachers are retiring and the Talented & Gifted program (which my child was a part of) should have been cut long ago. Those are the only three lines I do agree with on this proposed budget.

I do hope the school board is still working on this, because I think they are far from making the cuts which are best for our school district.

Of course I will admit to not knowing everything that goes on, and yes I should attend the school board meetings. But will that help? It hasn't in the past.

Anonymous said...

It can't hurt to go to the school board meetings.

Anonymous said...

I am certain that the board's work and consideration of options before releasing this list was encompassing and difficult.
I applaud the board members for their courage in working through this diffucult process, and sharing their planning with a community that is so closely tied by its schools, children and sports.
I would absolutely support a referendum to retain faculty, when so many (including myself) could not support new facilities. Quality teaching matters. At the same time, adding administration positions gives me pause. Are the new AD/AP and social work positions in support of singly-focused, aggressive immigration practices? Have we bitten off (do we continue to bite) more than we and our social systems can digest to make Pelican Rapids LSS a superstar?
Can we live with a more balanced, healthy growth approach vs. one that continues too aggressively to stress social and economic systems in our community.
If our teaching resources are depleted and weakened further through proposed cuts, is it enough yet to reduce the volume or slow the LSS influx? Please consider how to better balance the comingled interests (of one board member) without continuing to withdraw education quality from the student population.
Let's keep our teachers -- we can support a referendum to retain the faculty.
Hang on to the focus though -- LSS accomplishes positive change but it needs to be independent of the school district in business planning as well as financially. LSS needs to fundraise separately from the school district for social work and administration resources.

just wondering said...

What does "LSS" mean?

NWB said...

I was personally and professionally offended when I read the March 3 comment. I resent that assumption that a school social worker only works with minority children.

A social worker works with ALL students who have issues bigger than Reading and Writing--something a teacher is not trained to do.

Life is different than when most of us over age 35 went to school. There are HUGE issues now that require special training and knowledge that a teacher doesn't have. It's unfortunate that life issues spill over into the classroom but that is a reality.

A school social worker is not, nor would ever be, considered a Pelican Rapids Lutheran Social Services (LSS) employee. The only fact is that if a social worker were available to the schools, that person would work with ALL students.

It is not appropriate to name names of the students that are currently receiving the assistance of a social worker; however, I can tell you that their services are not primarily spent with one or two nationalities, but all children.

When we're thinking about budgets, I want to remind everyone that having the minority students in our school district (25-30% over the past 12 years) has HELPED our school district financially. $5000-7000 per student (state aid amount) has certainly kept us solvent. Declining enrollment is occuring in most districts in MN and it's finally caught up with us.

Currently I work sharing Pelican Rapids diversity with 8 area schools, and our community. I always stress to other districts that , in Pelican Rapids schools, we are able to see ALL students for who they are, not what they are. This is something that makes me proud to work in our district.

Nadine Brown
Cultural Collaborative Coordinator

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see that at least one writer seemed to think that a social worker for the district would be an LSS (Lutheran Social Services) employee. I can see how that would be a little confusing, however.

The term "social services" would include anything that would benefit people. For example, the noon lunch program at the Senior Citizens' Center is a LSS program, as is the assisted living program at the highrise.

Dianne Kimm was employed by the refugee services wing of LSS, after working as a volunteer with that population for a LONG time. She does not BRING people here, but works with who show up, whether sponsored by a church or individual, or in the same way that my Scandinavian ancestors showed up where they had friends and family and could get a job--and pay taxes! Diane has been a school board member for many years, and works to make sure all the refugee kids get enrolled in school, but she is NOT paid by the school, nor would any social worker hired by the school be an "LSS employee".

For probably the last ten years, I have been going to activities with other teachers from different districts that have been cutting staff and programs since then. Partly this is due to the fact that both the state and federal government are good at requiring lots of things, but not providing funding to pubic schools, and also to the fact that our populations are declining with people moving out of smaller towns and families having smaller numbers of children.

It has now caught up to us. Part of the reason that we have not had problems until the last 3-4 years is that we DID have this big influx of refugee students that are all worth the same amount of money to the district. And, in my 30 years of teaching (with minority students in all those years) the vast majority of students that would need intense social worker intervention have been white Germanic-Norwegian students!

I myself have mixed feelings about hiring a social worker, but I do know if the board makes that decision, this person will a district employee, and not have anything to do financially with LSS and Diance Kimm.

Kathy Knuteson-Olson

Anonymous said...

Does the community realize how serious this is?
Last night the public wasn't well represented at the school board work session .. make sure you show up next Monday... The school board needs to hear the publics opinion.