Cloquet schools to add $385,000 in teaching staffOver the past two regular meetings, the Cloquet School Board unanimously approved hiring additional teaching staff for the 2007-2008 school year – at a cost of approximately $385,000.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Over the past two regular meetings, the Cloquet School Board unanimously approved hiring additional teaching staff for the 2007-2008 school year – at a cost of approximately $385,000.
“This is not fiscally the most attractive thing in the world,” said Ken Scarbrough, Cloquet schools superintendent, at their regular meeting Monday. “But we’re approaching class sizes of 30 in elementary and nearly 40 at the high school. We think it’s an essential expenditure as long as we have the fund balance to handle it, and I believe we do.”
The additional staff would be hired in various positions throughout the district and will include teachers for first, second, third and fifth grades, as well as for special education. Teachers would also be hired in math, English, science and social studies. The $385,000 would cover salaries and benefits.
“I know we’re projecting a substantial deficit for next year and we’ll have to watch it carefully,” Scarbrough said. “If the state does not change [funding], we will have to make very substantial cuts to our programs – we could be looking at future adjustments of over a million dollars or asking our public for a referendum.”
The additions may change as spring goes on and enrollment numbers change, Scarbrough added.
Scarbrough and school board members are hoping for more funding from the state next year as legislators have talked about finding ways to provide it. No one is counting on it, however.
“Talk is cheap and funding isn’t,” Scarbrough said.
In other business, a walk-through with contractors was scheduled for Wednesday at Cloquet schools, so they can make bids on this summer’s roofing projects, including the roof at Cloquet High School. The project is scheduled to begin on June 9.
Building and Grounds Director Gene Salmi also said he and his staff are working on a brighter, more energy-efficient lighting plan inside the high school.
“It is just poorly lit... kind of like a dungeon when you walk into that building,” he said.
A plan for the playground at Washington Elementary should be presented by Salmi at the next board meeting as well. He speculated that if everything went smoothly, an upgraded playground could be ready as early as this fall.
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