WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     WWG  — Superintendent principal Loy Woelber talked about the new proposed budget for the 2017-18 school year. In its present form the deficit proposed for the next year would be in the neighborhood of $300,000. Of course Woelber said that is a best guess estimate, and there are many possibilities that could change that amount.

    There are a number of things that could affect that number in a positive way. Reducing programs and  staff, or by raising the voter approved levy. Woelber said “we must balance any “new” with cutting of current and use of attrition.”

    Woelber noted whatever they do they must look at the long range picture. If they were to pass a new voter approved levy, they might have to consider a three percent escalator clause to keep up with inflation. As it stands now, a $750 increase in the voter approved levy would produce about $330,000 increase in the budget. However that only meets their needs at the present and does not look down the road, so they must also look at items mentioned above.

    For the average family homeowner in Westbrook and Walnut Grove,  it would cost about a couple of trips to a fast food restaurant.

    Elementary principal Paul Olson gave his report.

    Olson was concerned with President Trump’s budget cuts which could be anywhere from 10 percent to cutting the whole Title I and II  program. If the latter were the case it would be a financial hit to the district of about $180,000. Hopefully it will only be ten percent.

    Olson announced the dates for preschool and kindergarten round-ups on Tuesday, April 25 at 6:00 p.m. at the Walnut Grove School.

    The  K-6 elementary spring concert  will be Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m.

    Preschool Pathways I and II scholarships are fine for the 2017-18 school year, $37,500 has been allocated for preschool staff.

    The  backpack food program for next fall will have $2,500 in donations to begin with. The program will target students in K-2 who need the assistance and are on free/reduced lunch through the school. The backpack will include snacks and other school necessities.

    The Walnut Grove Lions  Club will  be donating the proceeds from their upcoming pancake feed.

    The Walnut Grove Loggers have dedicated the proceeds from  their annual golf tourney for the backpack food program.

    The sixth grade instrumental recital will be held Monday April 10 at 7:00 p.m.

    Olson told the board they will be changing the method of kids going from the classrooms to other activities. Currently the classes form lines to go to and from activities. He noted that research has shown that up to a half hour a day can be saved by just moving in groups, so  they will be implementing the system to see how it works.

    Loy Woelber gave his report.

    Mr. Lee and his Building Trades Class are repairing the stairwells in the high school auditorium.

     A Medal of Honor Training program is being set up for teachers at the Westbrook Community Center. He feels it will be a good thing for the community as it will bring about 75 to 80 teachers to the event.

The busses have been working fine this year, but issues have affected the newest bus more than the older ones. One of the district’s vans will go out of service this spring, so they will be renting a van from HLO which will offset the mini bus they are renting out to that district.

    Summer Lunch Program will be at both schools again this summer.

    Woelber noted he is having ongoing budget planning discussions with Rachel Christians, Jane Hass, and  Mr. Olson.

    Two new treadmills were purchased for the fitness  centers, the old ones were placed in the weight room at the Westbrook site.

The senior class trip is approaching and arrangements are finalized.

    Twenty Dell Chrome books have arrived, but they are still waiting for the storage cart to arrive.

    For capital outlay, a walk-through of the facilities will have to be done with board committee members, custodians, and roofer input.

    Woelber feels the cell phone and electronic device policy for seventh and eighth grade students need to be looked at. But they don’t want to make it a bad policy — however in some instances it really can be a distraction. Teachers surveyed that in some classes the cell phones are used for class work at the high school level.

    Woelber is definitely looking at a modified block or a 7-8 hour period school day for the next year.

    Athletic Director Leo Theisen talked about the positive affect having the basketball team winning the south section, and runner up in the section 3A tourney last week. It was good to see the community support throughout the season as well as the support during the 3A tournament. “It was great to see our gym full again,” he said.

    On the flip side of that, Theisen is concerned about the numbers for the girls basketball and reminded the board they need to have some discussion about both boys and girls team numbers sometime this spring.

     The two indoor track meets have been cancelled due to scheduling conflicts.

    He noted there are good numbers in both boys and girls track. But they do not have any senior boys out for baseball. In softball they have only three girls out for that sport. Also numbers are down for varsity girls golf with only four girls out for the squad.

    The following items were acted on by the board.

    • The board approved by roll call vote resolution of non-renewal of Crystal Sonsalla, a probationary teacher.

    • The board approved the hiring of Tasha Nelson 4-12 (music/band) for the 2017-18 school year.

    • The board approved the Achievement and Integration Plan July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2020.

    • Approved SWWC Service Cooperative Contracts for 2017-2018 school year.  (Woelber commented this is a service that provides many services that we could never afford on our own.)

    • Approved 2017-2018 WWG Wellness Policy report for the Walnut Grove facility.

    • Approved a contract with Greater MN Family

Services with a 3 percent increase for 2017-18.