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Round Lake-Brewster school district facing budget cuts

BREWSTER -- In times of economic hardship and substantial fiscal deficits, school districts across the state of Minnesota are facing looming budget cuts.

BREWSTER -- In times of economic hardship and substantial fiscal deficits, school districts across the state of Minnesota are facing looming budget cuts.

The Round Lake-Brewster school district may be added to the lengthy list of districts forced to eliminate positions, as possible budget cuts for the 2011-2012 were discussed at Monday's school board meeting.

Proposed changes include a $70,000 reduction at Brewster Elementary -- the equivalent of 1.25 full-time teachers.

An estimated $130,000 to $150,000 in reductions have been proposed at Round Lake High School -- the equivalent of three or 3.5 full-time instructors.

Superintendent Cornelius Smit explained the process of deciding which positions would be eliminated, stating that probationary teachers in various capacities would be given notice of termination and non-renewal of contracts.

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Teachers with continuing contracts would follow with a proposed unrequested leave of absence.

"Anytime you have to make budget reductions it affects personnel and students adversely," Smit noted of the proposed changes. "You don't like to do it, but we knew these reductions were necessary to balance our budget."

Smit emphasized cuts were not a result of the current state budget crunch but were instead due to the decline in the district's general fund's undesignated-unreserved funds.

The district also faced a similar financial scenario last year and had to eliminate several positions.

Monday's proposed cuts were based on the assumption that the district will not face further reductions in state funds.

"It's sort of a dangerous assumption to make," Smit added. "If we are faced with cuts in state funding we will then make further reductions in the operating funds balance if necessary."

There are currently 330 students enrolled in the district -- 212 at Brewster Elementary and 118 at Round Lake High School.

Although Smit was unable to comment on the direct impact of the cuts to the school district, he did note the reductions would reduce the amount of elective courses offered at the secondary level and would make scheduling of classes more difficult.

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The continuation of the budget balancing will be discussed at the next school board meeting on Monday, April 18.

Related Topics: ROUND LAKE
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