Rochester School Board Set to Approve $14 Million in Budget Cuts
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester School Board is expected to vote this evening on a proposed budget framework that will reduce spending by about $14 million for the next school year.
The elected officials met a couple of weeks ago to review the framework proposed by Superintendent Kent Pekel to continue addressing a structural imbalance in the school district's operations that has resulted in the growth in the size of its workforce far outpacing growth in the student population. Pekel says the new employment contracts negotiated with the district's employee bargaining units last year are also contributing to the need to dramatically cut costs.
When he publicly unveiled the proposed budget framework last month, the superintendent stated it would result in significant job cuts. Approximately 77 FTE teaching positions could be eliminated, along with 42 education support professional jobs, and a number of clerical, school nurse, maintenance, and administrative positions.
The exact number of job cuts needed to meet the spending reduction target won't be known until this spring. Some of the reductions will likely be addressed by leaving positions open following retirements and resignations, but Pekel also says some layoffs are likely.
He also noted the School District may be able to revisit some of the reductions if the State Legislature and the governor fall through with their promises of significant increases in public school funding, but the impact of any legislative action will likely not be known until after the school board is already set the budget for the 2023-2024 school year.