Blue Earth Area Schools forced to make cuts

BLUE EARTH — The Blue Earth Area School Board has approved reductions in the proposed 2019-20 budget totaling $425,364.

There was much discussion prior to the vote, including comments from the public. The majority of the public’s concerns are in three areas; physical education, the social studies department and elementary classroom size.

The reductions include the elimination of four teaching positions. Two are due to teachers retiring while the other two are because of requested leaves by teachers.

Other items included in the cuts are the elimination of one bus route, and cutting teachers on call, Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment proctors and tech coaches.

In addition, one technology integration position will be reduced from 0.6 full-time equivalent to 0.2 FTE.

The cuts do not eliminate the deficit, with projections indicating there will still be a $550,000 shortfall.

“The Legislature has not passed an education bill yet so we still do not know what the school funding will be,” said Superintendent Dr. Jerry Jensen.

Blue Earth Area’s general fund balance as of June 30 is estimated to be $2.4 million.

In other financial matters, the board awarded a roof repair bid for the high school building to Nieman Roofing Company for $94,800, less than the estimated cost of $100,000.