Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the Editor: Superintendent Ginopolis clarifies school budget story

July 18, 2012

Dear Editor,

After reading The Lake Orion Review article ("$2.4 million less for Lake Orion Schools") published July 4 on our school district's budget for 2012-13, I thought it would be worthwhile to clarify a few points to avoid any misunderstanding:

Compared to this past school year, funding to the district from federal, state and local sources has been reduced by $2.4 million, to $75.4 million. This is the budget to operate Lake Orion's schools next year. (For fiscal year 2013, the per pupil spending will decrease by $314.69.) While we have reduced our expenses and contained costs significantly over the past several years in all areas, we are projecting our expenditures to be $77.2 million for next school year, down from $81.4 million the previous year.

Despite reducing our spending for the coming school year, there will still be a shortfall of $1.8 million that will have to be made up by tapping into the district's equity fund, which has a current balance of $10.7 million. (Last year, the district took $3.5 million from this fund to take care of much needed facility repairs and technology enhancements.)

We cannot access the district's equity fund forever. There are state mandates regarding the minimal level of funds a district must maintain. Furthermore, it does not make smart fiscal sense to continually tap into this resource. In this challenging funding climate, we anticipate further cost cutting may be necessary down the road to lessen our dependence on the equity fund.

I know I've said this before, but let me restate and stress that the job of Lake Orion Community Schools is to provide a quality education for all of our children, no matter what decisions the State of Michigan makes. This is and will remain our Number one priority. The taxpayers and families of Lake Orion have my assurance that we will continue to spend our budget in a responsible manner next year and beyond.

-Sincerely, Marion Ginopolis,

Superintendent