Pine River-Backus School District: Roughly a 3% decrease in both revenues and expenses anticipated

Enrollment and survey responses both contribute to changes in budget.

prb school sign
Echo Journal file photo.

The preliminary budget the Pine River-Backus School Board approved at the regular meeting Monday, June 21, predicts a reduction in both general fund expenses and revenues for 2021-2022.

Overall revenues are expected to decrease by $383,509 (3%) whereas overall expenses would decrease by $395,720 (2.9%).

General fund revenues are expected to decrease $529,323. Decreased enrollment projections for the 2021-2022 school year result in decreased state aid in general education, learning & development, and staff development.

The district offered free meals to all students regardless of income through the Seamless Summer meal program. Compensatory aid is driven by the number of students qualifying for free/reduced lunch status. With the limited number of free/reduced lunch applications received, the district will see a $312,922 decrease in compensatory aid.

The anticipated end of major coronavirus expenses relating to staffing, sanitizing, social distancing, personal protective equipment and distance learning equipment is responsible for $472,054 in 2020-2021 expenses and is projected at $447,151 in expenses for the 2021-2022 budget.


In addition, the district is not budgeting for any 2021-2022 construction projects, resulting in a $401,765 (100%) decrease in construction expenses over 2020-2021.

The board unanimously approved the preliminary budget.

In other business Monday, the board:

  • Learned that only 40 students who were recommended for summer school have been enrolled, leaving seats available for more. There will be additional attempts to contact those families with children who qualify.
  • Learned the school district will continue to have snow days, though weather-related cancellations that can be predicted far enough ahead of time may instead transition to e-learning days.
  • Learned the school district is suffering from a shortage of applications in all positions, but especially for bus drivers. The district is seeking applications for substitutes, temporary drivers and from people who can drive in afternoons but not mornings or vice versa.
  • Awarded contracts for diesel to Northern Star Cooperative, for trash collection to Waste Partners, for bread and related products to Pan-O-Gold and for milk and related products to Prairie Farms.
  • Accepted the resignations of Kristin Lindholm, English/language arts teacher; custodian Brady Niskanen; and bus drivers Gerald Logelin, Dan Ronning and Dan Pattinson.
  • Accepted the termination of paraprofessional Joshua Lundquist.
  • Agreed to hire Rebecca Stabenow as high school special education teacher, Nathan Fischer as high school interventionist, Matthew Casperson as physical education teacher and Kaden Swenson as custodian.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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