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School board OKs budget free of pink

June 25, 2014 - For the first time in years, Clarkston school budget was approved with no layoff notices for teachers.

"I'm thrilled not have to sit here and approve pink slips I think this is the first time I've been on the board I didn't have to lay off teachers," said Treasurer Joan Patterson, member of the school board since 2004. "It's a great thing."

The 2014-2015 budget, approved unanimously at Monday's meeting, includes $78.36 million in local, state, and federal revenue, and $79.08 million in spending. The $718,639 difference will come from the district's fund balance, reducing it from $5.04 million to $4.53 million.

One of the school board's parameters this year was a fund equity equaling at least 5 percent of spending. This year's fund equity will equal 5.73 percent.

The district's fund balance fell from $14.46 million in 2008 to $3.32 million in 2013. It grew to $5.04 million this past year.

Addressing an issue from the June 9 first reading of the budget, board Secretary Craig Hamilton asked if all personnel changes would be presented separately to the school board for action, and Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said they would.

The budget includes $1.69 million more than last year for teacher salaries, benefits, and programs, including $225,000 to restore unpaid work days and $143,000 in health insurance adjustments; and

$1.3 million for building projects, technology, infrastructure, and other critical needs.

Last year, the school board approved 10 lay-off notices for teachers. Layoffs through the years also include 20 in 2013; 20 in 2012; 111 in 2011; seven in 2010; 40 in 2009; 46 in 2008; and 14 in the 2007 school year.

Layoff notices were issued in April each year, and most teachers were recalled by the start of the new school year in September.

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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