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Moorhead schools to cut 37.5 positions

MOORHEAD - The Moorhead School Board decided unanimously Monday to cut 37.5 full-time-equivalent licensed positions.

The cuts were recommended by Superintendent Lynne Kovash.

"It's very difficult," Kovash said. "This isn't anything any one of them (board members) wants to do or I want to do, but it's where we are to continue to operate our school district."

Kovash said about 27 non-licensed positions are planned to be eliminated later this spring.

Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak presented the latest preliminary budget for 2009-10 with an estimated $4.6 million in budget cuts. That number is slightly lower than a previous $4.9 million projection.

Kovash said it's hard to tell the exact number of licensed positions that will be cut, but she expects it to be lower than 37 due to factors such as possible retirements.

The district has not yet decided who to cut.

"Next what we have to do is we take all of those reductions and we have to actually see where people fit into them," Kovash said.

The areas that will lose the most licensed positions are elementary education/reading and special education.

Elementary education/reading will lose the equivalent of six full-time positions. Special education will lose the equivalent of four full-time positions in kindergarten through 12th grade.

The School District projects a 36-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio for high school next school year. The ratio is 30-to-1 this year.

The ratio for kindergarten through third grade is expected to remain at 25-to-1. The ratio for fourth and fifth grades is expected to remain at 29-to-1. The ratio for middle school is expected to rise from 30-to-1 to 33-to-1.

Kovash said she doesn't expect to recommend program cuts.