Lakeville School District may cut secondary deans

District 194 rejects Lakeville elementary principal’s proposal to combining first, second grades

Editor’s Note: This story has been changed to clarify the Lakeville School District’s proposal eliminates four of the district’s eight elementary learning specialists, four of the district’s elementary school counselors and  allows the remaining ones to each serve two schools. In addition, the district is no longer considering combining first and second grades.

In an effort to reach $3.5 million in budget cuts, Lakeville Schools Superintendent Lisa Snyder has proposed eliminating deans next year at secondary schools for a savings of $450,000.

The proposal would change Lakeville’s long-standing principal-dean model to the more traditional principal-associate principal model with counselors and/or special-assignment teachers to work with administration.

Snyder said parents and secondary students have appreciated the dean model because they have been able to interface with one person at the schools, but it is not financially sustainable.

Also proposed is for one activities director to oversee both Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools, a savings of $130,000.

Proposed for the elementary level is the elimination of four learning specialists and four counselors.

Elementary principals have opposed those changes and instead suggested combining all first and second grades district-wide. According to District 194 spokesperson Linda Swanson, this proposal has been “removed from consideration.”

Snyder reported to the board they are studying the proposal’s feasibility and cost-savings potential.

School Board Member Bob Erickson suggested at a Feb. 19 workshop that the middle school activities director could also serve at the high school level.

He also suggested the associate principal model could allow them to serve a dual role as dean at the high schools.

Other proposals are to restructure to combine Digital Learning with the Technology Department and eliminate an administrator for a $130,000 savings; reduce district office support staff, a communications specialist position and cut special education services by $100,000 as the need for them is soon to decline.

Snyder has also suggested the district sell some property and put an estimated $200,000 income from a non-refundable down payment although the property has not been listed and there has not been an offer.

School Board Member Jim Skelly said cuts have a domino effect and asked for more details about the proposals before the board is asked to make budget decisions, expected to occur in March.

He said most of the proposals avoid increasing fees by incorporating administrative restructuring and the use of technology to protect the classroom.

“We know we’re at the top of the heap for class sizes in the metro area,” Snyder said. “We really wanted to try to come up with reduction ideas or restructuring or redesign ideas that would not impact class size further.”

The first draft proposal totals $3.3 million in cuts, leaving another $200,000 in reductions to be identified.

“This is a work in progress,” Snyder said.

The School Board will further discuss budget options at a 5 p.m. Feb. 26 work session.

  • Love the water

    Combining 1st and second grade is an idiotic idea.

  • Love the water

    Combining 1st and second grade is an idiotic idea.

  • bonnie lass

    As much as I too, love the idea of the dean system – it really is not working – especially for those who have mental health issues. The Dean’s position combines both the administrative /discipline job requirements along with counseling. The district got rid of secondary counselors when it was believed that deans could do the job. The qualifications for being a Dean means having an administrative license. Many of the Deans do not have a counseling license. How can we ask a person to counsel students in the areas of mental health issues when they have no qualifications? Years ago – we had counselors who took care of scheduling, working with staff and students when it came to grades, as well as getting students help with mental health issues. Now, most deans rely on the school psychologists, who are paid for with special education funds, to take over the mental health issues. Many of the students needing help as not in special education, therefore, it is an inappropriate use of funds. Salary and benefit-wise – it is more cost efficient to hire counselors. Counselors are paid on a teacher’s salary with teacher benefits. They are qualified in working with students mental health issues and know how to access resources for families.
    It is about time the district looks ad administrative costs.

  • Dumb

    How about we shut down one of the high schools. The choice to bill a second high school and operate it is why we are financially strained

  • Love the water

    I have the Taj Mahal of a high school two blocks away. Can you say “wasteful spending decision”