School Board Votes Against Cuts

School Board Votes Against Cuts Click to Enlarge Photo: Sartell School District

(KNSI) - The Sartell-St. Stephen School Board rejected budget reduction recommendations made by the administration during a special school board meeting Monday night.

The district needs to make cuts after voters rejected last fall's referendum for $1.7 million a year for ten years to fund operations at a new high school opening this fall.

The board split their votes 3-3 to cut around $1.2 million from the budget and raise revenues by another $400,000.

Pam Raden, Jason Nies and Jeremy Snoberger voted for the reductions, while Patrick Marushin, Amanda Byrd and Lesa Kramer voted for them.

School Superintendent Jeff Schwiebert says everyone agrees that the district needs to make cuts but what to cut is the point of contention.

He told KNSI News a handful of students and parents spoke during the meeting’s open forum and expressed concern over the proposal to cut half of the Academic Extension program. The program helps challenge high end achieving Kindergarten through 4th grade students.

The school board was considering cutting staff, freezing administrative salaries, cutting bus routes and increasing activities fees to meet their budget needs.

Schwiebert says it's back to the drawing board for the administration. There's a work session scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the administration building.

He says the district has to make any staffing decisions by Monday's regularly scheduled school board meeting because the deadline to let teachers know of any changes is May 1st, and this is the last school board meeting before that date.

Schwiebert says after the meeting, the board held a work session and talked about the possibility of going out for another operating referendum but didn't make any decision.