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Schools looking at $3.4 million shortfall in next year's budget



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April 04, 2012 - Clarkston Schools are looking at a $3.4 million shortfall in next year's budget.

"Indicators predict 2012-2013 will be the worst year yet for revenue, based on the governor's budget proposal," said Mary Beth Rogers, executive director of business services.

The state budget will not be approved until October, so Rogers presented three scenarios to Clarkston School Board, March 26.

In the worst case, revenue falls by $4.6 million and expenditures increase by $1.2 million, for a total $5.7 million deficit. Best case, revenue falls by $1.5 million and spending increases $0.6 million, for a $2.1 million shortfall.

In the most likely case, revenue decreases by $2.4 million and spending goes up $1.0 million. The scenario assumes loss of 50 students and no change in state per-pupil funding

"There are still a lot of unknowns," she said. "Hopefully it will be closer to the best case."

All three scenarios include a 2.73 percent increase in Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System payments, $1.1 million, and revenue loss of $1.2 million in federal Education Jobs funding.

The school board selected the most likely scenario.

"We'll work from that as we go forward," Rogers said. "We'll do what we need to do to balance the budget."

The board will decide how much of the $3.4 million deficit will come from the district's $8.48 million fund balance and what would be cut in the budget.

"The state definitely needs to provide more revenue education needs more funding," she said. "The state is funding us at 2005 level, while we have 2012 expenditures."

School board, administration, and employees are all fiscally responsible, she said.

"The school board is fantastic they make changes they need to make," she said. "Staff and administration have worked together to fix health insurance, they've accepted pay freezes and no step increases."

Administrative priorities include class size, athletic funding, full implementation of Elementary World Language, band uniforms, and technology updates.

The uniforms and technology could be funded by the proposed $20 million bond proposal, up for a vote May 8. According to state law, bond funds can't be used to pay teacher salaries. For more information, check www.clarkston.k12.mi.us.

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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