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District 279 Looks to Cut More Than 70 Teachers in Next Two Years

If the budget proposal is accepted, and no additional revenue is received, Osseo Area Schools will need to reduce staff, leading to larger class sizes.

Feb. 11 was the last Osseo Area Schools budget reduction community forum. Now, District 279 school board members will prepare for a Feb. 19 work session where they will focus on budget planning and hear a final recommendation for budget reductions.

If the board decides to adopt the proposed budget--which outlines $11 million in cuts over the next two years--more than 70 teachers may lose their jobs if additional revenue is not received.

Related: District 279 Budget Proposals Suggest Cutting $3 Million Next Year

According to a presentation given by Assistant Superintendent Kim Riesgraf on Feb. 5, four levels of budget reductions will help ease students and staff through cuts in 2014 and 2015. While $3 million is proposed to be cut next year, the larger reductions come in 2015, where the district may cut roughly $6 million.

In total, if the proposed budget is adopted, Riesgraf’s presentation's shows that more than 70 teaching positions would be eliminated. The reduction of teachers in the district will lead to larger class sizes, Riesgraf said.

Teaching jobs wouldn’t be the only positions reduced. The plan calls for reduction of two communications, nine administrative and nine custodial positions as well.

“This will lead to less customer service and less contact with community members,” Riesgraf said.

Additionally, level four cuts outline the elimination of laundry services, which forces the question: Who will wash student’s athletic uniforms?

While wrestling expenses and sports transportation dollars were proposed to be reduced next year, 2015 cuts call for 20 percent of costs associated with all athletics to be reduced. Reisgrad said this will lead to less availability for students to participate in athletics and more reliance on parent transportation.

Final budget decisions will be made on March 5.

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What items would you recommend for budget reductions? Share your thoughts in comments.

Bryan Anderson February 18, 2013 at 04:04 PM
Good job commenting on the least important aspect of this article!
Laura February 18, 2013 at 05:16 PM
I agree - the kids can learn to do their own laundry (life skill, anyone???). I've said it before, and I'll say it again - cuts need to be made at the top. District 279 is a classic case of too many chiefs. Is administration going to step into the classroom when they've let all the teachers go? Is administration going to clean the buildings when they've let all the custodians go? Is administration going to clean a wound, pass out meds, ice an injury when there are no more nurses? I highly doubt it.
Pastor Durk Peterson February 18, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Is the school board addressing cuts in teacher retirement benefits as well? What % of the state and district funds are impacted by theses costs?
anonymous February 18, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Laundry service? What athletic teamsm and which schools supply laundry service? My kids have been involved in football, wrestling, nordic skiing, track, and soccer at Osseo high school over the past 5 years and we always washed their uniforms at home.
Charles Huff February 24, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Pastor Durk, teacher retirement is a negotiation between teachers and school boards. Teachers are essentially asked to allocate their own slice of the pie. What percentage would a teacher like invested versus liquid cash? Teachers pay into their own retirement, so your crusade to cut teacher retirement means you want to take money they've earned and invested away from them. I'm disappointed that a man of your stature would advocate such a thing before he knows the facts. Interesting that a man who is exempt from most taxes is advocating taking earned money from people. If every pastor was like this, I would be opposed to this practice. However, I value the role of spiritual leaders in our lives, so I won't oppose this. If only you showed more respect and knowledge for the people who have decided to work with our kids. Also, this is National Enquirer style journalism. Perhaps finding out what laundry services entails--usually washing towels and other materials custodial staff utilize in cleaning--instead of a snarky quip would inform people better. If sports teams are the sole reason for this service, then your could inform us of this. As is, this looks like an uneven blog post written by an angry citizen who just "head some things" and decided to sound off on it.

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