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Board hears proposed cuts

Arts are important for a more complete education, student Tyler Dobmeier told the Blackduck school board as it considers the 2010-2011 budget. Listening are high school principal Wendy Temblin, elementary assistant Lorraine Warden, board members Larry Zea and Bob Stroeing.

Two elementary grade teachers, a reduction in hours for a high school teacher, elimination of an elementary school music program and other cuts were outlined in a draft proposal to the Blackduck school board at its regular meeting last week.

Earlier the board heard from student Tyler Dobmeier whose comments were aimed at encouraging the board not to make cuts in the high school arts programs.

The board also learned that the playground sign is to be replaced. Olson Wood Products has donated the sign which will feature the design done by high school student Amy Eckstrom.

Morgan Levy won the school's annual spelling bee and will advance to the regional event at Thief River Falls. Julia Bogucki took second in the local contest and Shania Redday was third.

Other good news reported by board chairman Dale Compton included scholarship fund donations. They included $1,000 from the Ilse family, $1,813.70 from Northwoods Lumber Company and $1,000 from Beltrami Electric cooperative. Each of the scholarship donations were from a family or organizations that have been regular donors over the past several years.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Nita Brown, who is retiring after 19 years on the Blackduck faculty.

Subject to approval by the State Department of Education, the board gave school administrators direction to issue next year's school calendar based on a continuation of the four-day week. There was discussion of the open meeting on the four day week, and a comment by board member Mark Sparby that a return to the five day week schedule would, with the present budget constraints, mean the loss of four teachers.

On a motion by Larry Zea, the board said that in the future, summaries of board actions would be all the information given to readers rather than the full minutes as at the present time.

Approval was given to several previously reported contract agreements with various union groups.

The board again looked at overall loss of both state and federal funds, including the delays in payment of monies due. Over eight years the board has cut more than $1.5 million in spending. Deficits now include the cost of special education, with 25 percent of the Blackduck students requiring SE assistance.

Special education programs must meet federal requirements enacted by Congress, which promised schools would get 40 percent of the cost reimbursed. Instead, Superintendent Bob Doetsch told the board, "We've never gotten what they promised, and some years we got only six percent."

The board recessed to go into closed session for discussion of a personnel matter.