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Brainerd School Board Finance Committee: Lowered athletic fees on the table again

Brainerd School Board’s Finance Committee along with a subcommittee continued to work toward lowering athletic fees in the Brainerd School District during Thursday’s committee meeting.

“We have a group actively working on this issue and a lot of discussion in viewing potential options,” said Director of Business Services Steve Lund. “Ultimately the school board said to bring together another proposal in our July meeting, where we can hit the pause button, but only a 30-day pause before bringing it back for discussion so that’s where we are today.”

Bringing forth a recommendation to the June 11 School Board meeting to lower costs by $75 and $100 and split in to a two-tier structure, the finance committee saw the motion fail 4-2, with board members Kent Montgomery and Jim Hunt voting in favor of the proposed plan to lower costs. Instead board members agreed to continue discussion on athletic fees during July’s finance committee meeting.

“If you take a look at this new proposal, you’ll note that from a broad perspective it didn’t change much with the exception of a large piece and major concern with Warrior Way,” said Lund.

Currently split in to three tiers of cost at BHS — with tier 1 paying $250, tier 2 paying $350 and tier 3 paying $425 — Lund said the proposal again will essentially create a two-tier structure by focusing on fee reductions in tiers 2 and 3. The proposed plan would drop tier 2 from $350 to $250 and tier 3 from $425 to $350.

In addition, the revised proposal would have the school district assume the support schedule of the Warrior Way remaining funds — $180,000 — and its cost for the next three years.

“One of the major concerns addressed during the (June) school board meeting was making a decision that’s not as short-term as we originally proposed,” Lund said. “With this method, the family contribution goes up slightly for the existing tier 1 activities and goes down slightly for the existing tier 2 activities.

“Tier 2, however, is where the district sees its most participation, which is the overall goal of Warrior Way in the first place.”

Lund added that with this revised proposal, the district would expect a budget impact of roughly $81,600 for the next three years and will need to begin planning with the yearly loss of $60,000 in Warrior Way funding to end in three years.

Both finance committee member Ruth Nelson and chair Reed Campbell approved the recommendation, with member Tom Haglin absent.

In other business, food service meal prices will increase 10 cents beginning in the 2012-13 year.

“Looking at our historical results and projections it’s easy to determine that there are changes happening and we have to change with those,” said Lund. “This 10 cent proposal gives us something closer to a deficit budget and in comparison to other schools around us, it’s not much of a change factor.”

Lund said based on projections, a 10 cent increase would generate additional total estimated revenue increase of roughly $44,000, place the projected fund balance for 2013 at a level near $97,000 and would help the reduced budget deficit for 2014.

He also added: “Based on the current 173 day student schedule, this will have an effect of approximately $17 for the entire school year for those students who do not qualify for free or reduced lunches and are participating in lunch at school.”

The committee moved forward with the board’s recommendation with both Nelson and Campbell voting in favor.

JESSI PIERCE, staff writer, may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).