|6/18/2020 2:37:00 PM|
North Branch seats new school board member
The June 11 meeting for the North Branch School Board featured budget tweaks to address covid related costs and losses, and the Board also unanimously seated a new member -- Tanya Giese.
The big news for coaches and their assistants, though, was action that erased a motion approved last month that had suspended issuing spring sports paychecks.
Board member Kevin Bollman made a motion close to the mid-point in last week’s meeting, to first erase the original vote suspending pay, and then motioned to approve paying 100 percent of the stipend the contract calls for, to the coaches whose spring sports season was called-off. Athletics coaches had been paid the first half of their spring wages already, before the season was halted.
North Branch School Board supported this, which will amount to $50,225, according to Finance Director Dr. Todd Tetzlaff.
Board member Heather Osagiede was hesitant at first to vote, explaining she thought the Board had asked last month for options. It was her understanding the school board would further discuss budget impacts of either 25 or 50 percent as well as 100 percent.
Board members speaking in support of paying the full amount said budget projections they had just reviewed didn’t appear to support reducing payments.
Moments after the pay motion passed unanimously, however, Board Chair Kirby Ekstrom spoke about red ink expected in certain accounts of the budget. Addressing the food service division’s dip in revenues, “This (not having kids in school) is a heavy hit to any district that offers food service,” he pointed out.
The Board had voted to increase meal prices, by a dime.
The Chair added, “We need to make legislators understand they need to (better) fund school districts.”
Beyond not having the cafeteria open, some other covid-related expense adjustments resulted as the North Branch district responded to the new mandates to provide essential employees with child care.
There also is a revenue decrease from the loss of Community Ed revenues when no fees were coming in for the slate of cancelled public classes and lifelong learning programs.
Yet, in spite of all the fiscal complications, North Branch Board was told to expect to end next year with a larger balance in the General Fund. Tetzlaff reports the balance will be over nine percent. The policy is to achieve five to 10 percent.
The balance this budget cycle is 5.28 percent.
On the unanimous appointment of new board member Giese-- she will begin to serve as of July. The election this November will fill the full term for the seat; vacated in April by Darryl Goebel.
North Branch also welcomes its new superintendent Sara Paul in July.
Budget adjustments that were approved last week by the Board address revisions to the year just-ending and projected revisions for next year’s budget.
The fee and lunch increases adopted were: cost to participate in robotics ($100 to $150) and for high school athletics, from $210 to $230 and $120 to $140 for athletics in middle school. Hockey in high school will have a $545 fee up from $525 and in middle school it goes from $435 to $455.
The family fee cap remains at $900 and all the other fees such as parking and class specific fees stay the same.