Communications will still happen, just slower, Superintendent Bezek says

by Jim Boyle


The Elk River Area School District’s communication’s department took a hit during the 2013-14 budgeting process.

The hit will save the district $121,000 and necessitate a retooling of the district’s communications efforts.

Superintendent Mark Bezek assured people Monday the Elk River Area School District will continue to communicate with its parents, staff and community.

“There may be some things we can’t do as frequently as we have in the past, but (we must) reallign the stars in a budget we can afford to work in,” he said.

The district eliminated the manager of communications position and the marketing specialist position that often assisted communications efforts.

Bezek said that seven years ago the district didn’t have a communications management post and it managed to function without one for two years.

Back then he and Londa Chambers, the superintendent’s administrative assistant, handled everything that came in and divvied things up to be done by others on as-needed basis.

After the school district went through $6 million in budget reductions, the district came up with a communications plan a year later that included a communications manager.

“We’re light years ahead of where we were five years ago,” Bezek said, noting the district has a full-time communications manager post and a full-time communications specialist and, at times, leaned on a marketing person funded out of a different budget than the general fund.

The district also created a director of community engagement post, which has taken on some of the management of the communications department.

Bezek said the plan is to hire a communications specialist out of the Fund 04 or Community Education funds and to move forward in new ways.

District 728 budget cuts at a glance:

School district position realignment

Recommend the School Board approve the deletion of the following positions in the School District due to budget realignment:

•Manager of Communications, Community Education. Casey S. Mahon, Manager of Communications located at Community Education. Termination will be effective June 30.

•Marketing Coordinator, Community Education. Julia A. Nielsen, Marketing Coordinator located at Community Education. Termination will be effective June 30.

•Tutor of American Indian Students. Patricia R. McGerr, Tutor of American Indian Students and Secretary for the American Indian Education Program located District Wide. McGerr is currently assigned 12 hours per week as secretary for the American Indian Education Program and 520 hours per year. The position must be eliminated due to ending of the grant. The elimination will be effective June 7.

Probationary assistant principal reductions

•Scott Lempka

•Chad Brusky

Termination of  employment

•Lisa M. Salem, Supervision Assistant and Secretary at Ivan Sand Community High School. Salem is currently assigned 1.75 hours per day as a supervision assistant and two hours per day as secretary for the 2012-2013 school year. The hours assigned for the 2012-2013 must be eliminated due to budget realignment.

Terminations of total contract 

The following are terminations of the total contract with no employment remaining effective at the end of their current contract or June 6, 2013, whichever occurs first:

Ashley Bialke

Jennifer Blaido

Amanda Bomgren

Chad Brusky

Amy Cox

Kristina Eggink

Jennifer Erdahl

Stephen Eskro

Tammy Gehling

Judy Gleiter

Katelyn Hatanpa

Kayla Herold

Kari Hormann

Deborah Hyk

Joan Jacobson

Leaza King

Heidi Koosman

Denise McDonald

Christopher Moore

Kelsey Ortmann

Lisa Perbix

Karin Rau

Elizabeth Reed

Gerald Rehder

Andrew Rosevold

Betsy Sanford

Amber Sarkkinen

Michelle Siegel

Heather Smith

Daniel Stanton

Angela Stoltz

Anne Webskowski

Siri Wilhelm

Katherine Windsperger

Kimberly Windsperger

Tracy Wojcik

Jessica Wold

Reductions due to staffing changes

The following are the reduction of the probationary contracts of teachers. These reductions are due to staffing changes for 2013-2014.

The following are reductions of a portion of the teachers’ contracts effective at the end of their current contract or June 6, 2013, whichever occurs first:

David Ahmed – .2 FTE

Anna Gagner – .1 FTE

Michael Kantor – .3 FTE

Eric Kusch – .2 FTE

Thomas C. Larson – .4 FTE

Janelle Packard – .1 FTE

Jaclyn Potvin – .06 FTE

Dan Schmoyer – .2 FTE

Stacy Vold – .5 FTE

Brian Westgard – .47 FTE