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Changes ahead for community education

No fee increases or major changes in Community Education-run programs and classes are expected in the next year, but there will be changes to how the department is managed.

Superintendent Keith Jacobus said last week that District 833 is currently interviewing candidates for the community education director's position after longtime director Ernie Pines resigned "for personal reasons" in late February. Jacobus discussed the issue during the District 833 School Board's Thursday review of the department's 2013-14 budget proposal.

A group of community education experts has been engaged by the district to review all of its programs and services, according to Jacobus and Dave Bernhardson, assistant superintendent for elementary education, who has been working on the budget with district Finance Director Aaron Bushberger.

The panel will also be interviewing staff members and people connected with community education programs with a final report and recommendations due in June in time to "springboard" the new director.

Fee structures are also being studied and compared with other similar school districts.

The board traditionally reviews the community education budget in April or May, after the department has set its fees for the year. Moving forward, Bernhardson said, the board will review the community education budget before the department sets class and program fees.

Community education receives tax levies for early childhood, adult basic and general community education from the state, but 76 percent of the revenue comes from user fees, Bushberger said.

There is also a major change proposed for the department budget and its reserve fund.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.