No cuts, but modifications anticipated for District 16

By Elyse Kaner
Staff Writer

Spring Lake Park District 16 is not anticipating any cuts for the next school year.

Modifications, however will be made, perhaps in programs or teaching positions. Much depends on next year’s enrollment figures and state legislature funding decisions, Superintendent Jeff Ronneberg said in an interview with the Life.

“We won’t be cutting programs,” Ronneberg said. “We might look at aligning programs differently.”

Ronneberg added the district is not planning on having fewer teachers next year.

Amy Schultz, District 16’s business manager, said in an e-mail that the district is now in a stable financial position.

“For 2012-13 school year (next year), we are not anticipating budget reductions,” she said.

“While we aren’t required to make reductions, we are still looking at how we can operate differently to offer superior services with the same resources, ” she said.

District 16 operates on a $59 million total budget.

Last spring, the district reduced the budget for this school year by $1.7 million.

The cuts and modifications resulted in eliminating a total of 12 full-time equivalency (FTE) teaching positions for the 2011-12 school year, in part because of the district’s shift this fall from a seven- to a six-period school day at SLP High and Westwood Middle schools (requiring fewer teachers) and a decrease in enrollment figures in some classes. Retirements, resignations and leaves of absences were factored into the cuts as well.

In the 2010-11 school year, the district underwent $2.3 million in budget cuts and modifications.

Seven teachers were cut and a full-time equivalency of 4.8 staff positions were reduced at the District Services Center.

Ronneberg said the district, for now, does not plan to cut teaching positions next year. But depending on enrollment figures, instead of teaching their usual courses, teachers could be reassigned to teaching other courses in their discipline area.

District 16 serves 5,100 students, the largest enrollment in the history of the district. The district serves students in Spring Lake Park and parts of Blaine and Fridley.

Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]