Source: Sherman Publications

Schools $2.6 million short

by Wendi Reardon

June 29, 2011

Clarkston Community Schools will start the year $2.6 million short as they begin their 2011-2012 fiscal year, Friday.

The Board of Education voted unanimously, Monday, to approve the budget. Projected revenue is $77.7 million, $1.9 million less than estimated revenue for last year, with expenditures totaling $80.4 million.

The $2.6 million difference will be taken out of the district's fund balance of $5.6 million, said Bruce Beamer, executive director of business services.

He said other ways to balance the budget include spending only 96.3 percent of what is budgeted, or the state could raise its per-pupil funding amount.

The district expects $7,252 per pupil. With a blended student count of 8,168.18, that brings in $59.2 million, after adjustments brings the total brought in down to $54.2 million. State and federal grants, facility rental, early childcare program and the food service accounts for the rest of the revenues.

Beamer noted the formula for the blended enrollment count is changing this year. The blend will be 10 percent from the February student count and 90 percent from September.

"It could impact state income,” he said.

Another impact for the district is the loss of $1.4 million in federal special-education and preschool grants and funding.

The district trimmed $3.8 million from the budget following board parameters, as well as Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock’s list of reductions provided throughout the year.

"We have been more on the same page with our parameters and closer to the same page as we have ever been before,” said Steve Hyer, board president.

Reductions include salary freeze for teachers, concessions in salary for parapros, COPA concessions in salary, health care changes, reduction in the number of elementary media specialists, savings on principal replacements, and cuts to International Baccalaureate, transportation, instructional aides at the elementary level, and clerical support at the secondary level.

Health care changes to a self-funded plan saved the district $2.4 million.

Another change is retirement contributions going up to 24.46 percent from 20.66 pecent, up 3.8 percent on all salaries.

Kathy Noble, a teacher at Bailey Lake Elementary, asked the board to keep communications open on classroom aide positions.

"The small funds that go to the aides are returned tenfold to us and the students,” she said. “Save the positions.”

"We appreciate everything everyone has done,” responded Hyer. “We understand it is a difficult task – coordinate 850 employees, insurance, moving around staff. I look forward to seeing fewer things amended.”