Source: Sherman Publications

Public hearing on school budget

by Phil Custodio

April 17, 2013

The public will have a chance to address proposals to close a $3.8 million school budget deficit, 6 p.m., April 22.

The meeting was scheduled for Clarkston Junior High School off Waldon Road, starting with a presentation of the administration’s budget recommendations.

“It was the consensus of the board to provide full public transparency to our community regarding the administration’s recommendation as we look to take action on these cuts,” said board President Cheryl McGinnis.

Proposals include:

• Limited open enrollment in grades K-2;

• Chartering a school at an off-district location – an administration recommendation;

• Privatizing custodial, maintenance, or transportation services – not a recommendation of the administration; and

• Elimination of transportation, also not a recommendation of the administration.

“It is important our community know all options to the board whether recommended by administration or not,” McGinnis said. “Board members felt it was important that the community had the full picture before the board not just a snap shot therefore, additional items not currently recommended by administration will be discussed.”

Open enrollment would offset losses in enrollment and allow the housing market to expand locally, bringing more students in to the district, said Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock. Administration’s recommendation is for one year, followed by reevaluation;

Administration is also looking at other alternatives at the request of the board, Rock said.

Administration's plan to eliminate the $3.8 million deficit includes up to 13 teacher layoff from the budget and through attrition, a $750,000 cut. Layoffs are scheduled for discussion and approval at the April 22 school board meeting, following the public hearing; $200,000 transferred from the Early Childhood Center budget fund equity; $250,000 in At Risk funding from the state; $60,000 cut from facilities and transportation; $1.25-$1.5 million cut from human resources; and $73,000 in non-personnel cuts.

New revenue in the plan includes $100,000 from Community Education; $300,000-$800,000 in partnerships with private schools; $141,000-$708,000 from open enrollment; and $100,000-$250,000 from possible partnership with a local charter academy.

Administration's proposals for open enrollment and partnerships with private and charter academies is expected to bring in from $541,000-$1.76 million, total. If the school board rejects those proposals, layoffs and other cuts would have to be deeper, Ryan said.

For more information, call 248-623-5408.