Last Thursday night, the North Branch Area Public Schools school board was informed that we are projecting a $1.6 million deficit for the next school year. As always, we will keep you informed of important recommendations as we move toward addressing that deficit.
There are some dates of which you should be aware as we go through the process of setting a budget next year. As the school board must decide whether to continue the four-day week or transition to a five-day week, there will be three public meetings (childcare available if needed), to gather public input on the schedule. The dates are:
•Thursday, Feb. 14, at 6 p.m., room 126 of the North Branch Area Education Center
•Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 8:30 a.m., room 126 of the North Branch Area Education Center
•Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m., room 126 of the North Branch Area Education Center.
The budget recommendation will be presented to the school board Thursday, March 7, at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. There will also be a public hearing Thursday, March 14, 6 p.m. in room 126 of the North Branch Area Education Center. It is expected the school board will act on a budget recommendation March 21, 7 p.m.
One thing I can report to you now is that the school board gave the school district its consensus to move forward with a free all-day everyday kindergarten model for next year. A half-day option will be provided if the four-day week continues into next year. This is great news for kids as it is known to improve achievement.
Like in previous years, there are many ways for you to provide input. You can call the budget hot line at 651-674-1080, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or even mail us at 38705 Grand Ave. North Branch, Mn. 55056. We look forward to hearing from you.
— Deb Henton is superintendent of North Branch Area Public Schools.