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Cloquet School Board OKs 2022-2023 budget with $513K deficit

The budget includes an estimated deficit of $513,798 in the unassigned general fund balance.

Garfield School
Garfield School in Cloquet.
File / Cloquet Pine Journal
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CLOQUET — The Cloquet School District's fiscal year 2022-2023 budget was approved unanimously by the school board at its meeting held Monday, June 23, at Garfield School.

District business manager Candace Nelis broke down some of the figures related to the adopted budget, including a $513,798 deficit in the unassigned general fund balance. Nelis clarified that the deficit does not account for the non-renewal of 10 teaching contracts for educators with probationary contracts passed by the board at its May 9 meeting.

The deficit includes the latest estimated average daily membership for next year of 2,750 students — up from the mid-year projections of 2,742 this past year. The 2,750 ADM count was noted to be a conservative estimate.

The increase comes as a result of a relatively small graduating class in comparison to years past, along with an average kindergarten cohort that would be larger than the number of outgoing graduating seniors, Nelis said.

Superintendent Michael Cary said in an email to the Pine Journal that it’s not uncommon for the district to gain students between school years.

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Still, the ADM count is down from 2,790 students before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have not seen the bounce back from kids that have either gone to homeschool or online so we wanted to be fiscally conservative on that piece, so we reduced our numbers back down to around 2,750,” Nelis said.

Cary said that during a typical year the district has "$300,000-400,000 of cushion in that number just due to how we project our revenues or expenses."

He went on to state that this year is not typical, citing ongoing negotiations with the district’s paraprofessional and secretarial units that remain a ways away from reaching a deal.

“In a typical year we would expect the real number by the end of the year to be much less than that,” Cary said of the $500,000 deficit. “Now the reason I’m pointing this out again is because of what I had mentioned during the working session, which is just some of the difficulty we’re having right now in our negotiations processes because inflation and the increases that people are seeing.”

None of the school board members present had questions or comments about the budget.

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