Source: Sherman Publications

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$2.4 million less for Lake Orion schools

by Trevor Keiser

July 04, 2012

$2.4 million less revenue was estimated for Lake Orion Community Schools, which equates to a $75.4 million general fund for the 2012-2013 fiscal year budget.

The Lake Orion School board voted 6-0 to approve the budget. Trustee Steve Drakos was absent. Reduced income funding at federal, state and local level leads to $314.69 less per student, according to John Fitzgerald, assistant superintendent of business and finance, who gave a presentation to the board.

"As revenues are going down, costs are going up," Fitzgerald said.

The retirement rate, which is expected to increase to 27.3 percent from 24.46 percent in fiscal year 2013 and an additional four percent in 2014. Other cost pressures include salary and wages, common core curriculum costs, instructional and infrastructural technology, as well as facility capital projects.

2012-2013 expenditures are estimated at $77.2 million, $4.1 million less than last year, leaving the operating deficit at $1.7 million. One time charges include $500,000 to D.M. Burr Group for custodial services and $250,000 for math curriculum, because of Common Core Curriculum changes. The expected fund balance is estimated at $8.9 million based on the Fiscal year 2012 ending fund balance of $10 million. The fund balance is 11.6 percent of the expenditure budget.

"It's going to be challenging year, but it's not insurmountable by any means, said Fitzgerald. "In conversation with the board with respect to the composition of our operating deficit and with all the other changes going on in the district this coming year, they are well aware through this course of the next year we'll work to close the budget deficit."

So far they haven't had to address any major instructional components, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't have to, with state funding always in question, noted Fitzgerald.

With this particular budget we haven't had to address any major instructional

"I guess it is hope for the best and prepare for the worst," he said. "I just hope the state of Michigan from an economic point of view continues to get better so the school fund gets more money and maybe the schools can start moving forward on some programming, not just us, but all schools."

Superintendent Marion Ginopolis said they still have a lot of unknowns because legislature didn't get their work done prior to the end of the fiscal year.

"We should know more by the end of July in terms of the retirement rates and so forth," she said. "There will probably be amendments once we get this information."

Amendments are usually done the first meeting in October, she noted.

"By then we know exactly how many kids we have, how much state aide we'll be getting and so forth," Ginopolis said. "We have a budget and we'll work within our means."