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Carlton School Board prepares for cuts

The resolution comes ahead of the board's looming decisions regarding cuts to programs and positions.

File: Carlton High School
Carlton High School Katie Rohman / 2019 file / Pine Journal
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The Carlton School Board voted unanimously to pass a resolution directing administrators to make recommendations for reductions in programs and positions during its Tuesday, Jan. 18 meeting.

Co-curricular activities, transportation and electives were all on the table as options for cuts during discussion at the Committee of the Whole Meeting.

Board members Julianne Emerson, Sam Ojibway, Eryn Szymczak and Tim Hagenah voted in favor of the measure. Ann Gustafson and Sue Karp were absent from the meeting.

The resolution, which is passed annually, comes in advance of budget cutting decisions that continue to be discussed by the board.

Options for cuts were weighed at the Jan. 10 committee of the whole meeting and will be explored further at the next committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 14.

Superintendent John Engstrom shared budget line items during Tuesday’s meeting to show areas where the projected budget for 2022-2023 could be reduced.

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Whether the board targets a completely balanced budget, a $500,000 deficit or a $250,000 deficit will determine which items will be prioritized and which could be up for cuts.

Items included in the packet provided by Engstrom were core academic vs. special courses, co-curricular activities, student fees, administrative structure and in-person class sizes. The latter explores three possible options for larger class sizes: K-1, all elementary classes or larger class sizes across the board.

A deadlocked 3-3 vote by the Carlton School Board marks the end of the proposed Pre-K-8 tuition agreement with Cloquet Public Schools.

Due to the uncertainty of course offerings and possible staffing reductions, Engstrom shared that the middle school and high school schedule may not be developed until late spring or early summer.

Engstrom later provided an update on the possibility of the district moving to a four-day week as a cost-saving initiative, which would require approval by the Minnesota Department of Education. He said the chances of that happening are remote, at best.

Whether the district can seek another referendum was discussed at the previous committee of the whole meeting. Engstrom said he is still waiting to hear back from MDE about whether the district can pursue that option.

Related Topics: CARLTON SCHOOLSCARLTONEDUCATION
Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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