Maple Grove and Pine River Elementary Schools will remain open.
That’s the decision of the Merrill Area Public Schools’ Board of Education, who presented their proposals to the public at a special meeting last night. After first hearing public comments, the board decided to freeze ALL district salaries next year. According to board president Bill Jaeger, that’s a savings of 236 thousand dollars for the 2012-2013 budget. With those savings the board was able to take the boys hockey team off the chopping blocks and the 4K program will continue to be held at parochial locations in the city.
While the buildings of Maple Grove and Pine River will remain open, their primary functions will change. Maple Grove will transform to a charter school and Pine River will become the new home of the Head Start program. This is not the final budget. It’s simply the preliminary recommendations and more changes to the final version are likely to as the budget process continues. The Merrill District faces a 1.4 million dollar shortfall in the next school year due to state and federal cuts and continued declining enrollment.