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Waubun-Ogema-White Earth cuts another $97,000

The budget cuts keep coming for area school districts.

Add another $97,550 to what the Waubun-Ogema-White Earth School District has slashed in the past few months. The School Board cut nearly $500,000 from the budget in previous actions.

The latest cuts came at a special Board meeting Thursday morning to consider whether to switch to a seven-period schedule from the current eight-period day.

Board members decided to hold off on eliminating a period for the next school year.

Superintendent Mitch Anderson said that the board thought it was too late in the school year to make a drastic change for next year.

"It gives a chance to prepare and we'll re-approach it next year," Anderson said.

Not making the switch affects the bottom line. In proposed budget cuts, district administrators recommended $147,000 worth of cuts if a seven-period day was approved. By not implementing the change, the cuts from that amounted to $88,250.

The difference comes from reducing full-time teachers to part-time status, with the eight-period schedule giving those teachers more periods to cover throughout the day.

Other cuts came from eliminating speech ($3,900), violin ($1,000), one-act play ($700) and cutting the Knowledge Bowl budget to $3,700 from $5,250.

One-act play and speech weren't held this year due to lack of interest because of conflicting schedules with other activities.

Those cuts might not be enough, depending on what the state will do with education funding. A Senate plan cuts education funding and there are proposals to hold back more than the 10 percent of state aid that is currently being done.

School districts would have to use more of their reserves if the state holds funding back until subsequent years. To avoid draining reserves, Waubun might have to make more cuts.

Anderson said that $600,000 in cuts thus far is serious business.

"It's the most we've had to do in a long time," Anderson said. "It affects a lot of people."