Archived Story

Allegations regarding BL school budget clarified [UPDATED]

Published 10:23am Monday, November 5, 2012 Updated 12:25pm Monday, November 5, 2012

This is a response to a letter that appeared in the October 31st edition of the Daily Journal regarding the Battle Lake Public School District. There are several inaccuracies that should be cleared up.

First, a negative fund balance did not exist in the 1996 fiscal year. FY96 had a General Fund balance of $377,512. The FY97 General Fund balance was $1,005,395.

The district had a voter-approved operating levy in place at the time.

The district General Fund balance reached a peak in FY2006 followed by several years of budget deficits.

Teacher settlements were checked using data provided by the Minnesota School Boards Association. From a period of eight years between 1999-2000 until 2006-2007, the statewide average in teacher contract settlements exceeded that given to Battle Lake teacher contracts 50 percent of the time. Battle Lake’s largest teacher settlement above the state average occurred in 2005-2006 at 1.45 percent above the state average. Battle Lake teachers were 1.03 percent below the state average in teacher settlement in 2000-2001.

Battle Lake teachers have had a salary freeze each of the past two years. The teacher retirement incentive that was listed at $100,000 is incorrect.

Regarding the Broberg Trust, it is well documented that the district hired a reputable law firm out of Fergus Falls to guide it through the process of establishing a foundation and to ensure proper handling of the assets within the fund.

When the district was informed that changes needed to be made, it complied with the corrections promptly by transferring the monies to the district’s Building Fund.

It is extremely difficult to address the concerns brought forth about possible open meeting violations as the period in question occurred from 1998 to 2004.

The Broberg monies have been used to provide many worthwhile improvements to the district including, but not limited to: bus garage, athletic fields, science wing remodeling, band and general music room remodeling, locker room ventilation and air conditioning, replacement of carpeting, floor and ceiling tile.

Broberg funds were also used to install an off-peak electric boiler and more energy efficient gym lighting so that the district could reduce its operating costs. All of these expenditures followed the intent of the initial bequest.

The district continues to work with neighboring schools in cooperative efforts designed to improve instruction and run more cost-effectively.

These efforts have been a regular topic of conversation among neighboring administrators.

 

Jeff Drake

Superintendent

BL Public Schools

 

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