School board cuts $541,832 from its 2019-20 budget

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With nearly 30 faculty and school district residents at their meeting Monday at the Benson High School, the board of education approved $541,832 in cuts as it worked to balance its budget for the 2019-2020 school year.

The planned cuts are $105,612 lower than what were considered earlier by the board as it added back $10,000 for the marching band bus trip expenses, $58,630 for business office staff, and reduced the cuts in the agriculture department by $28,800.

It placed full-time agriculture teacher Nancy Loen and full-time English teacher Heidi Davis on unrequested leave while reducing science teacher Brian Edlund’s position to 58 hundredths of full-time.

The board also made cuts in secretarial time, laundry service, its paraprofessional staff, school nurse time and in purchases. It will save $52,000 by replacing long-time teachers Don Brehmer and Jon Ahrndt with new teachers who will start lower on the pay scale. It will also save $90,000 by not replacing retiring science teacher Ruth Ahrndt.  It will also save $20,000 with the retirement of Business Manager Dave Benson as it replaces his position at a lower cost.

The cuts still leave it with a projected budget deficit of $476,100 for the coming school year with revenues of $10,355,500 and expenditures of $10,831,600. The deficit spending is expected to reduce the district’s reserves to $890,262 by the end of the next fiscal year...

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