10 teachers cut amid questions

Published 10:57 am Thursday, April 18, 2013

Positions and programs are being cut at Albert Lea Area Schools as administrators wait to see how budget issues are worked out at the state and federal level.

About 10 teaching positions were cut at the school board meeting Monday. All the teachers could be re-hired depending on if the funding becomes available.

Mike Funk

Mike Funk

Among the positions cut were five full-time ADSIS, or Alternative Delivery of Specialized Instructional Services, intervention teachers. Those special-education positions were lost while the district waits to hear about a competitive state grant that would fund them.

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Two other grants that are in limbo contributed to other part-time cuts. And the district will lose the equivalent of 2 1/2 elementary level Title I teachers because of the federal sequestration.

“We are awaiting action from the federal and state government,” Superintendent Mike Funk said. “These are temporary layoffs in the hopes the positions will be funded.”

Funk said it’s regrettable that the district has to cut programs and positions as they wait for final state and federal budgets.

“It is unfortunate that we are compelled to make these cuts before funding is approved, but we are compelled to do it by statutory requirements,” Funk said. “It’s too bad the Legislature can’t change the laws.”

In other action the board:

• Approved a two-year transportation contract with Albert Lea Bus Co. An increase of 2 percent for both years was included.

• Approved health insurance rates for district employees for 2013-14. Because of a large number of costly claims last year, district employees will likely see an increase of an average 20 percent in their premiums.

• Saw a demonstration by the Albert Lea High School robotics team.

• Honored seventh-grader Jens Lange, who was a state National Geographic Bee participant.