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Board sets February referendum date

Board of Education approves budget

WORTHINGTON -- The District 518 Board of Education approved next year's preliminary budget and this year's revised budget at its Tuesday meeting, also debating the board's role in budget development.

Total expected revenue for the 2010-2011 school year is $32 million, with total expenditures topping $40.5 million -- a number that includes about $8 million for district construction projects being funded through bonds.

"We do have a positive fund balance; we're not deficit spending," noted board chair Joel Lorenz.

Board member Steve Schnieder expressed concerns that the budget assumptions were reviewed by the board's operations committee rather than the full board this year -- a change from past years.

"I guess I felt a little uncomfortable with that process," he said. "The budget is very important in our function as a board, and I think we should do it as a board and not as a separate committee."

"It was my feeling that the assumptions we had set out at the beginning of the year ... were unchanged, with the exception of the WALA (Worthington Area Language Academy) students coming over," responded Linden Olson, chairman of the operations committee. "That was basically the only change that was made. We did meet as a board early on to discuss all the assumptions that were made in that budget."

In other business, the board:

- Approved the resignation of Rhonda Brandt as Area Learning Center and Targeted Services Coordinator, Keith Fleming as Assistant Principal at Worthington High School, Lisa Harms as volleyball coach at WMS, Gay Harberts as secretary with Special Programs, Margaret Larson as copy room and cafeteria supervisor with PE, Bjorn Bakke as football coach at Worthington Middle School, Kieth Olson as football coach at WMS, and the retirement of Renee McCuen as first-grade teacher at PE.

- Approved employment of Lori Mulder as occupational therapist with the district, Chris Brouwer as yearbook adviser at PE, Linda Schaefer as yearbook adviser at PE, Janet Haren as physical education teacher at PE, Lisa Grothe as long-term substitute teacher at PE, Kathryn Stafford as general music teacher at PE, Joel Evans as health/physical education teacher at WMS, Jessica Beilke as English Language Learner teacher at WMS, Inga Crews as early childhood special education teacher with PE, Lori Stapleton as developmental cognitive disorder teacher at WMS, Micaela Massey as business and computer teacher at WMS, Megan Wurdeman as youth activities leader for day Evenstart, MaryAnne Bedtke as math teacher at WHS, Cathryn Nakhornsak as program aide with Nobles County Integration Collaborative, Katy Russell as program aide with NCIC, Carmen Johnson as payroll employee with the district, Gail Holinka as art competition adviser for WHS; and also approved Special Programs employees for summer school 2010.

- Approved ShoutPoint contract renewal for the 2010-2011 school year in the amount of $3,600; approved the MREA membership dues in the amount of $2,400.

- Approved student and faculty handbook changes for the West Academy Program at PE and the ALC student handbook.

- Approved two school nurse contracts; approved a contract settlement with salary and benefit increases for district employees.

The revised 2009-2010 budget showed $29 million in revenue and $33.6 million in expenditures, again including construction costs.