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Still in the hole

School spending outpaces cuts

July 07, 2010 - A week into the new fiscal year and Clarkston Community School district finds itself $5 million short.

The Board of Education voted unanimously, June 28, to approve $78.1 million in spending for 2010-2011. Revenue is projected to be $73.1 million.

Last year, district revenue was $80.9 million, with $86.9 million in spending.

Budget calculations included $7,119 in state funding for each of Clarkston's 8,125 students, for a total of $57.8 million. This is a cut of $268 per student, from $7,387, a total of about $21.8 million.

The state has until Oct. 1 to set its budget for the 2011 fiscal year, so it could change up or down, noted Bruce Beamer, executive director of business services.

The district's General Fund, including fund balance, is budgeted at $75.2 million, a decrease of $6.9 million from last year.

Beamer said 75 percent of revenue comes from the state, five percent from the federal government, 12 percent from local business and non-homestead taxes, and eight percent from special education funding and grants.

Most of the budget goes to personnel $33.6 million this fiscal year is for salaries and $18.4 on fringe benefits.

"We spend 57 cents of a dollar on instruction," said Beamer. "We spend 42 cents on a dollar on support."

The board approved more than 120 budget cuts on March 22, totalling $10 million. The cut included more than $300,000 in staff concessions and reductions as well as an elimination of a bus lease transaction of $4.2 million.

"We saved from concessions made by our custodians and bus drivers," said Beamer.

Other costs for employees continue to grow. The district retirement costs grew by $93,883 for 2010-2011 fiscal year, and increased in the 2009-2010 fiscal year over $480,000.

The district saved $436,000 in health care costs in the general fund by changing 173 employees from HRA to HMO health care coverage.

He also noted the revenue brought in from the nutrition program, formerly food services, will have a slight decrease.

He estimates $2,324,028 million will be brought in, but expenses will be $2,386,772 a loss of $71,154. The recent 10-cent increase in lunch prices will not be able to offset the $20,000 increase for food and staffing costs.

Beamer also noted he will amend the budget to reflect staff changes.

Fund equity will cover the $5 million deficit, dropping to $2.2 million, 2.85 percent of the budget.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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