Source: Sherman Publications

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Schools of Choice, enrollment key in budget

by David Fleet

May 21, 2014

Goodrich- On Monday night the board of education moved forward with a proposed budget for the 2014-2015 school year.

"We are anticipating losing 60 students for the 2014-2015 school year," said Scott Bogner, district superintendent.

About 170 students will graduate from the high school this year and the incoming freshman class will be about 200. However, there are currently only 120 students in kindergarten.

"We will not have the students coming up through the district," said Bogner. "The Schools of Choice numbers will not pick this up. There are just fewer people in Genesee County to attend."

Last month the board voted 6-1 to adopt a resolution exercising the option permitted by Section 105 of the State School Aid Act, to operate a Schools of Choice program and accept applications for enrollment, of nonresident students from outside of the district who reside within a constituent district with the Genesee Intermediate School District. The board also voted 6-1 to accept nonresident students from outside of the district who are residents of intermediate school districts contiguous to the Genesee Intermediate School District. The district allow unlimited enrollment in grades K-12. Trustee Niki Wiederman voted no.

The Schools of Choice students are at 344, comprising about 17 percent of the district's enrollment, boosting the district's coffers by about $2,577,270 each year.

Bogner said the total per student funding will be released by Lansing in early June.

"There will be some reductions for the next year—possibly some staff," he said. "However, we are more the right size staff then we have been in a long time."

Conversely, in April 2013 lay-off notices were announced to 19 staff members in the district.

Currently, the district is at about 8 percent fund equity or about $1.4 million of a total budget of $17 million. Since 2007 the district has dipped into more than $2 million in fund equity, including more than $700,000 in the previous year. Bogner estimated about $150,000 in fund equity will be needed to balance the budget.

Honestly, the days of putting money away for a rainy day are long gone," he said."We have to prepare for the worst and keep as many dollars in the classroom as possible," he said.

"The biggest issue will be a lack of students in the district, it's not unique to Goodrich. The revenue to the districts from Lansing may be higher this year than others, but without the number of students the dollars are fewer."