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School budget, program cuts listed for 2008-09

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With $498,226 in cuts approved by the Perham-Dent school board March 19, hardly a department of the operation will be unaffected.

Here is a summary of some of the cuts. Dollar figures for staff cuts are based on total costs, including insurance and retirement costs, and don't reflect salary alone.

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----In the classroom, a half-time English position will be cut, for a savings of $20,800.

----Family and consumer sciences, known in the past as "home economics," will be incorporated into the classroom, and a .4-time position will be cut. Savings: $23,000.

----Gifted and talented programs will be restructured and moved into the classroom, with a reduction in teaching salary by $19,200.

----Arts will be reduced from two positions to one half-time position for the high school. This will save $78,000.

----Music programs will be reduced by one full-time position, for a savings of about $49,000. Orchestra will continue as a full program. Band, which has suffered from declining numbers, will be incorporated into orchestra --if possible. There is also the possibility of a "music club" approach, with band becoming an extracurricular.

----The high school "Dean of Students" position is slated for elimination. However, there has been some discussion of restructuring and refocusing the position, and seeking partial grant funding. Potential savings: Up to $80,000.

----A cut by 2.5 paraprofessional positions. Savings: $50,000.

----Reduce librarian position by half. Savings $50,000.

----Secretarial, reduce by $20,000 at the district office.

----Reduce custodial-cleaning position from full year. Savings: $9,000.

----Teacher-staff development funds reduced by $12,000.

----Reduce supplies, discontinue use of "mini-fridges," shut down computers at night, reduce printing-copying costs. Savings: $37,000.

----Eliminate paid elementary coaches; use volunteer elementary yearbook advisor; reassign National Honor Society position; restructure one act play in middle school classroom. Savings: $7,000.

School fees for extracurriculars may rise to $225 per family

Activity fees, charged to families with students in extracurriculars, from sports to Speech Team, may rise even more than originally proposed.

Administrators initially proposed an increase from $65 to $75 for each activity, with a $200 cap for any one family with multiple activities and/or multiple kids.

"I'd like to consider pushing it even higher," said Perham-Dent school board member Jim Rieber.

A "family maximum cap" of $225 was suggested.

The matter will be reviewed further by administrators, but whatever conclusion is arrived at, the increase in fees will generate at least $2,000 toward relieving the school district's budget shortfall.

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