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March 21, 2019

2/22/2019 1:09:00 PM
Chisago Lakes District staring down $2 million in cuts next year

Cuts are coming to the Chisago Lakes School District, but the specifics weren’t yet decided at the Thursday, February 14 regular school board meeting.

The board announced that $2 million in cuts will be needed because per pupil funding is currently not enough to keep the school at an even balance, but also, the budget that was approved by the school board last year “didn’t accurately reflect expenditures” according to Superintendent Dean Jennissen.

“When a budget is created in June, it is based off of the best information we have at that time.  It is a projection.  Student enrollment, special needs programming, transportation, changes in personnel costs, etc. all impact that number,” the superintedent explained. “Until our final audit is done, we never quite know the final outcome of revenues and expenditures.  Nearly all of the $1.6 million can be attributed to these uncertainties.”

Jennissen said the district will be short $1.6 million by the end of the 2018-19 school year on June 30, but that their  general fund balance is also at just five percent, and their school board goal is to be at 10-12 percent, so the other $400,000 in savings will go to the general fund.

The school district will begin by slashing $800,000 in what is called “district-wide” cuts. These cuts will come from the Curriculum, Building & Grounds, Technology and District Office Departments.

“That number shows the hard work that goes into finding [the extra money] to save each building valuable resources,” board member Lori Berg said.
The rest of the cuts will be based on the percentage of students in the district at each building site. The numbers are as follows:

• Primary School - 10.47 percent of enrollment, $125,610 in cuts.
• Lakeside School - 22.49 percent of enrollment, $269,921 in cuts.
• Taylors Falls School - 10.85 percent of enrollment, $130,197 in cuts
• Chisago Lakes Middle School - 23.88 percent of enrollment, $286,504 in cuts.

• Chisago Lakes High School - 32.31 percent of enrollment, $387,768 in cuts.
The specific cuts at each site will be laid out at a special February 28 school board meeting. “We are hard at work identifying reductions at sites in the current year and next year,” Director of Business Services Doug Hasler said. “It will be a very deliberate process.”
Those cuts would then be acted on at the March 21 regular school board meeting.

“In taking these measures, the school board intends to put the district’s budget on a path that will not only support our students and staff within our quality system, but also put a little money in savings to plan for the unforeseen,” Jennissen said in a release from the school.

In some good news, Kelly and Craig Passeretti donated $1,400 worth of pop up tents for the lacrosse program.

Since The Uncommon Loon Brewery is now taking up the old Chisago City Community Center space, the district needed to find a new polling place for that area. Residents who used to vote at the community center will now be voting at the East Central Library, Chisago City location, which is just down the road from the old community center.

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