Albert Lea Schools to eliminate teaching positions - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Albert Lea Schools to eliminate teaching positions

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ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Budget cuts are causing Albert Lea's school district to cut hundreds of thousands of dollars from next year's budget, but it's not just funds that are getting cut.

Ten teaching positions are on the chopping block for next year.

The district's superintendent said while cuts will occur, it won't hinder student's education.

Although the cost of living is on the rise, state aid for school districts is frozen.

"We have about a $40-million budget here in Albert Lea, and we are trying to cut somewhere between $600,000 to $800,000 so that we are going to be balanced for next year," explained superintendent Funk.

Last fall, elementary schools in the district were overcrowded. In order to fix the problem the district decided to reconfigure, sending 6th graders to the middle school and 8th graders to the high school.

Due to the changes, Funk said ten teaching positions are now set to be eliminated for next year, including a music instructor at the high school.

"There is a music position at the high school that is being cut because of seniority, so there is another person in the district licensed to teach instrumental music," said Funk.

While the district is eliminating some teaching positions, school board chair, Bill Leland, said they aren't cutting any programs.

"I've dealt with many, many budget cuts over the years and the difference on this one is that we're not impacting programs, or reducing opportunities for kids. We're actually increasing opportunities in some other areas and we're still cutting," said Leland.

Teachers will be notified by the end of April as to whether or not their contracts will be renewed for the following year.

If the school district doesn't continue to make cuts to balance the budget, they could slip into statutory operating debt, meaning the state will step in and operate the school.

The next school board meeting is set for Tuesday the 19th, when members will make a final decision on which teaching positions will be eliminated.

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