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Kindergarten numbers a good sign for New York Mills

New kindergarten prospects in the New York Mills school system are giving school officials reason for optimism on the enrollment front.

Following kindergarten informational meetings, it appears that there will be at least 57 kindergarten students enrolled next fall.

There are always several students more by the time the first bell rings in September, so Dean of Students Travis Hensch is expecting about 60 new students next year. This is about on course with recent years, said Hensch, who presented his kindergarten report at the New York Mills school board meeting on March 22.

There is some cautious optimism with regard to school finance, though it is still too early to tell what will happen in St. Paul.

"It's really still a crapshoot out there, until the legislature adjourns," Superintendent Todd Cameron said to the NY Mills school board March 22.

Cost containment, but no major cuts expected-yet

"Cost containment" will be the focus as the school plans finances, said Cameron. At this time, Cameron did not anticipate any major cuts in programs and staff, such as what occurred last year.

But administration will continue to contain costs and trim expenses, without major cuts, said Cameron.

Energy costs are one area where the school may experience some savings-or at least cost containment.

Energy costs holding steady with recent years

The board received two charts illustrating heating costs and electric usage over the past decade.

Heating costs escalated through the decade, from a low of $51,792 in 2003, to $93,639 in 2008. The total heating bill in 2009 was up slightly, to $96,065. For 2010, heating costs were at $62,178 through Feb. 10. With little more than two months remaining in the heating season, the total bill should come in lower than 2009.

Meanwhile, the school has put into place effective controls over electric usage since the middle of the decade.

Use peaked at 1.02 million kilowatts in 2004, but was reduced to 900,769 last year. With 597,058 kilowatts used this year through Feb. 10, it appears electric use will be close to even with 2009.