Conservative budget adopted by Esko School Board

With a projected budget deficit of $186,000, the Esko School Board is still hopeful of increasing revenues in the fall.

Esko Public Schools
Esko Public Schools in Esko, Minnesota. (2019 file / Cloquet Pine Journal)
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ESKO — The Esko School Board approved a conservative budget at its board meeting Monday, June 13.

Superintendent Aaron Fischer said while he projects a budget deficit for the upcoming year, he recommended the budget to the board and is hopeful of securing more revenue throughout the year.

According to the budget, the district is looking at a general fund deficit of $186,000.

"Hopefully we aired on the conservative side ... I'm comfortable with it," he said.

Some of the aspects that results in the budget deficit include the inflation as well as the district now having to spend on its food service as there is not more federal funding for school lunches.


"I don't like showing a deficit, but a few things could change," Fischer said.

Enrollment in the district is down by 26.37 adjusted pupil units; however, Fischer said open enrollment is open and the district will have a clearer picture on enrollment when school starts in the fall.

With open enrollment in the district and housing projects going up in Thomson Township, Fischer said he thinks there is a chance enrollment could go up.

"There are some reasons to think it will go up, there is an opportunity for growth," he said. "But we won't know until September."

He also mentioned that the district is keeping its eye on the Minnesota Legislature, as if it goes back for a special session, an estimated $200,000 could come the district's way to pay for special education programs.

On Thursday, June 16, state officials said they had failed to reach an agreement to return to the Capitol for a special session.

City officials have until the end of the calendar year to change the city budget to account for the increase. A proposal could come before the council as soon as its Dec. 6 meeting. The new rate would add $3.95 to residential water bills.

Dylan covers the local governments of Cloquet and Carlton County, as well as the Esko and Wrenshall school boards for the Cloquet Pine Journal.
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