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$2.7 million in cuts coming to schools



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April 03, 2013 - About $2.7 million in cuts are in the cards for Clarkston Community Schools.

The district faces a total shortfall of about $3.983 million in its 2013-2014 budget.

Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said the district will make up the difference through a mix of staff reductions, spending cuts, and more revenue.

"We are working very hard to offset reductions with revenues – the more revenues we bring in, the fewer reductions we have to make," Rock said. "Even as the state reduces funding for schools and promotes competition between school districts, we continue to work tirelessly to enhance learning for our kids."

The board voted 6-1, March 25, to approve a set of budget parameters, or assumptions, for administration as it develops the budget, he said.

Parameters include cuts to state Best Practice Funding by $36 per pupil, for a total of $280,000; state performance funding cuts totalling $323,000; increase in health care costs by 3.5 percent, $280,000; increase in retirement by 0.5 percent, $200,000; and loss of about 70 students this year, each a loss of $7,082 in per-pupil state funding totalling about $500,000.

Parameters also include no changes in state per-pupil funding or school district salaries, and a $2.4 million deficit carried over from 2012-2013.

Budget parameters call for $2,679,000 in spending cuts and $1,304,000 in new revenue to result in a balanced budget.

"The only way for us to bring in revenue for students we do have is increased enrollment," Rock said. "We can't pass a revenue. We can't charge tuition. We don't want to compete with other districts for students. It is the situation the state has put us in. All of the other districts in the county are considering this."

The district's fund balance, its reserves or savings account, would be about $3.8 million, about 5 percent of its budget.

The board will approve the budget by the end of June, with several meetings and discussions until then. The first will be on April 8, where the board will consider reductions and revenues in detail, Rock said.

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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