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5th-grade teacher back on School Board agenda; item tabled until July

With almost every letter of the alphabet finding its way on the agenda at Monday’s Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) School Board meeting, it proved to be a diverse evening of decision making and information.
Helen Baker Elementary is officially sold; the preliminary budget shows a continuation of deficit spending; insurance discussions ended up hitting an emotional nerve; budget reductions inevitably led back to the reduction (not a termination) of a fifth-grade teacher; and a resolution to initiate fall School Board elections for expiring terms of Board Members Clark Christianson, Jason Lindeman and Anne Twiss were all items of discussion.
When Superintendent Chris Sonju announced that Helen Baker is officially off the district’s hands, the building breathed a sigh of relief. Smiles were sent across the room as Sonju said the last steps are to have the final papers sent and a key delivered.
The business manager for GSL, Michelle Sander, presented the board with a preliminary budget for 2018 and 2019 which shows a continuation of deficit spending, though the fund balance policy — a percentage that the district feels comfortable maintaining in case of emergencies — is still projected at 20 percent.
She added that not all the numbers are included, which is a precautionary measure to protect against assuming too great of an amount of money. Though she sounded optimistic, she concluded, “We will have some work to do … if the budget continues to drop like it is.”
The strain of deficit spending might be why discussions on insurance were difficult. The board approved the renewal of the property, liability, and auto coverage for 2018-2019 at $87,655.76 — $6,540.29 more than last year. The rate increase can be mostly attributed to the property value increase after construction.
For more from the school board meeting, see the June 13 print edition of The Chronicle.