Due to a direct loss of of over 100 students in the last year and potential loss of 1,000 students the Faribault Public School Board Monday night voted to go forward with a plan to cut $460,047 from the 2018-19 budget.  The cuts include eliminating two teaching positions at Jefferson Elementary and a teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School.

Superintendent Toded Sesker clarified some numbers for KDHL today.  The number of students lost to open enrollment is 450.  Those students are primarily open enrolling in Northfield, Medford and Owatonna schools.  At the end of last school year there were a total of 3,789 kids in the Faribault Public Schools.  The projected average daily membership for this month is 3,687.

There are also a number of students living in the Faribault Public School District choosing to go to Nerstrand Charter, Bethlehem Academy and other options in Faribault.

Sesker noted the District receives approximately $7,000 from the state for each pupil so you can see the potential financial impact.

Sesker asked the board to approve hiring a firm to conduct a survey of students and parents of students who decided to leave the district and go elsewhere.

On a unanimous vote the board decided to hire Springsted of St. Paul to conduct the survey.  Cost is $14,500 and any additional meetings requested would be billed at $260 an hour plus mileage.  Board member Chad Wolff says it does cost money but if just two students are prevented from leaving then it pays for itself.

Board members agreed they need to know why students are going elsewhere.  The goal is to survey 200 students and parents.

The School Board also voted 6-1 to hire a communications person to assist in developing positive news about happenings in the district and sharing it with the public.

Sesker suggested the person could be a half time position shared with the Northfield Public Schools.  Board member Chad Wolff questioned that move in light of many students leaving Faribault and going to Northfield and wondered where the allegiance of a shared person would be.

Board member Richard Olson voted against the idea saying it didn't make sense when the district was making cuts.

Representative of Communications Firm Speaks with Faribault School Board. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld