At the end of each school year, districts need to approve a preliminary budget for the following school year. At Monday’s regular Alexandria School Board meeting, the board approved its fiscal plan.

Preliminary budgets are basic outlines for the school to follow if every variable goes according to plan. But some are hard to predict, such as school enrollment or the impact of a global pandemic.

Districts receive compensation for each student that is enrolled in their school system. One of the growing concerns with COVID-19 is enrollment could decrease in the fall, meaning revenues will drop with each student that chooses an alternative program instead of their public school.

The board decided to approach the fiscal year conservatively to better prepare for those challenging variables. The preliminary budget revenues came in at $56.6 million, while the expenses totaled $54.2 million.Revenues increased by 6.7% from last year.

The district’s cash balance came is below $20 million for the first time in four years this spring. After a balance of more than $22 million in 2018, the board saw 2019’s total drop to $16.5 million. This was a 25.27% decrease after 2018’s 9.74% increase.

Remodeling motions

Two months ago, the board agreed to seek remodeling bids for the Discovery Middle School roof. The bidding war was favorable for the board as it stuck a deal with Jackson & Associates LLC out of White Bear Lake. The cost of the roofing comes in at just over $1 million.

The board also approved getting bids on another project. The parking lot at Lincoln Elementary School is now accepting submissions for remodeling. The board said it won’t accept a bid if the price isn’t encouraging.

Other points of interest

  • Alexandria Distributive Education Clubs of America students will get the chance to participate in the Pike & Pint Burger Challenge to raise funds for the DECA program. The students will come up with their own unique burger recipes and the winning burger will appear on the restaurant’s menu.

  • Five Alexandria students received a Seal of Biliteracy and college credits after excelling on an ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Language exam. Bethany Miller, Avery Hagstrom and Kevin Diego excelled in Spanish while Jacob Tiegan and Chase Monceaux thrived in French.

  • Junior Nick Nelson was selected to participate in the Minnesota Music Educators Association All-State Choir for the second year in a row.

Critz’s final meeting

For the first time in two months, the entire board met in person for its regular meeting. Near the end of the two-hour session, the board gave superintendent Julie Critz her final evaluation survey.

The survey was Critz’s last in her tenure as superintendent. She’s stepping down at the end of June as Rick Sansted, assistant superintendent, will take over. Each board member shared how much they appreciated all that Critz has done for Alexandria Public Schools.