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Detroit Lakes schools will have to make big cuts next year

With the Detroit Lakes School District looking at a budget gap of several hundred thousand dollars, the District Finance Committee will meet at 7 a.m. March 26 to review proposed cost containments for the 2007-08 school year.

Acting superintendent Lowell Niklaus noted at Monday night's regular school board meeting that a final list of recommended cuts will be presented to the board at its April 9 meeting.

Niklaus said he wasn't prepared to give a definitive figure for how much the district would need to cut, only that it would be "significant" and "in the hundreds of thousands."

When questioned later, he would say only that the final figure would be "more than $50, and less than $1 million."

In other business, Niklaus made note of a $5,000 donation from the 10,000 Lakes Festival to the district, for the purchase of new musical instruments.

"It was completely unsolicited -- they contacted us," he said. "It was something they wanted to do."

Niklaus also had another small bit of good news to report: The district's enrollment was up four students since February, with the increase attributed to the high school ALC (Area Learning Center) program.

"Our high school (enrollment) numbers are holding better than in the last few years... that's a positive thing," he said.

Niklaus also said he expects to have some projected numbers for kindergarten enrollment in 2007-08 after next month's kindergarten roundup.

Also on Monday, the board also accepted a $58,800 base bid from Dow Acoustics of Detroit Lakes for the installation of a new ceiling at the DL High School pool.

The board also acted to approve a 2007-08 school calendar, which Niklaus said, is "very similar to this year."

After the meeting, Business Manager Ted Heisserer noted that the district's new supervisor of operations/transportation would be starting work today (Wednesday).

Ben Weekley of Detroit Lakes was hired by the district at a starting salary of $57,410. His contract was approved at a special school board meeting on Thursday, March 1.

Weekley will replace Brad Green, who accepted a position as the new public works director for the City of Detroit Lakes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454