Superintendent of the Detroit Lakes: pandemic drop in school enrollment has led to staff cuts


Detroit Lakes Public Schools are no exception: the district started the 2020-21 school year with 199 fewer students than in 2019-2020 – a total of 2,732, JK through 12 – and registrations have actually declined slightly since then. .

“As of today, we are at 2,694 students,” said Ryan Tangen, district business manager, in an interview on Wednesday. “That’s 253 fewer students than last year.”

School districts in Minnesota are allocated state education assistance based on their Average Daily Membership, or ADM, noted Tangen. With general education revenues budgeted by Detroit Lakes for 2020-2021 based on 2,748 students, the decrease resulted in a net loss of $ 1.6 million in general education revenues from the state .

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While much of the decrease was offset by pandemic-related increases in state and federal aid, that increase did not cover the entire deficit – and the administration of the district had to act on it, said Detroit Lakes Superintendent Mark Jenson.

Jenson noted that much of the school board‘s decision on Monday, April 19 not to renew 14 teaching contracts for next year was directly linked to budget concerns – but many of those teachers could be rehired if registration forecasts for next fall are being verified.

“Our budget for next year is based on returning 75% of what we lost (…)

Also, Jenson said, not all staff whose contracts have not been renewed are being cut; there were several teachers on the roster whose licensing requirements meant that the board had to terminate their current contracts before rehiring them.

“This action takes place every year to deal with (state) laws regarding the licensing of teachers,” he said.

Even those whose positions were cut were given sufficient notice of the board’s action, Jenson said, so they could find employment elsewhere for the upcoming school year.

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