Wrenshall School Board nears budget surplus recommendations, decision on superintendent

The board also approved the purchase of a new scoreboard to meet MSHSL shot clock requirements.

Wrenshall School
Wrenshall School.
Clint Austin / 2021 file / Duluth News Tribune

WRENSHALL — Final answers on the Wrenshall School District's budget for next school year and administration staff were not quite ready by Monday's board meeting, but were a lot closer.

Budget numbers move from red to black

After three rounds of budget cuts, the Wrenshall School Board reported Monday evening that the district budget for the 2023-24 school year, based on conservative enrollment number of 325, is showing a surplus of approximately $72,000. The board started with a budget deficit of over $300,000.

A look at some of the items on Monday's school board agenda as discussed during the board's committee of the whole meeting Wednesday, April 12.

There are a few remaining pieces yet to be ironed out, such as the district's administration staff for the next year, how much money will be spent on technology support and how much the district can expect in state funding.

"But can we say that for now, we have a balanced budget and require no additional cuts?" asked board member Mary Carlson.

"Correct," said treasurer Eric Ankrum.


Superintendent search update

While the board didn't take any action on the superintendent search, Chair Nicole Krisak said that Jeff Pesta, of the three candidates interviewed the week prior, was present and going through negotiations with the district.

Three finalists interviewed with the board during a special public meeting Monday, May 8.

"Jeff is possibly our superintendent next year. We're in negotiations right now, so he's come to get to know the school and the board," Krisak said.

Pesta served as the superintendent of Deer River Public Schools from July 2020 to June 2022.

Scoreboard purchase imminent

The board approved the approximately $32,000 purchase of a new scoreboard. The scoreboard purchase is due to a new requirement for a shot clock by the Minnesota State High School League. Approximately $17,000 in funds have been raised through various donations and events to help offset the cost of the new board.

"We've had absolutely phenomenal community support," board member Ben Johnson said. "We're over the halfway mark and there's a lot of events and fundraisers going on to help get us all the way there. But I'd like to recommend that we make the move to order it now so we can get it in time for next year."

Board members voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

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Teri Cadeau is a general assignment and neighborhood reporter for the Duluth News Tribune. Originally from the Iron Range, Cadeau has worked for several community newspapers in the Duluth area for eight years including: The Duluth Budgeteer News, Western Weekly, Weekly Observer, Lake County News-Chronicle and occasionally, the Cloquet Pine Journal. When not working, she's an avid reader and crafter.
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