September 1, 2014

AuGres-Sims facing estimated $634 loss per student

By James Kuch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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AuGRES — Gov. Rick Snyder’s projected budget cuts may cost the AuGres-Sims School District an estimated $250,000 next year.

Superintendent Anne Doriean said the governor’s cuts will cost the school a projected $470 per student. The district currently has 408 students.

“These (cuts) are out of our control,” she said. “It’s going to be hard on us.”

Doriean said that this is, “a sad day for education.”

“I think that the past few years we have been practicing for this,” she said. “Now it’s time to get on the battlefield.”

Doriean said that a proposed 3.8 percent increase in retirement costs will add to the number of dollars lost per student.

“Our retirement cost will add another $164 loss per student,” she said.

Other costs Doriean said the district is still unsure about, like insurance and grants, may continue to add strain to the district.

“Last year, our insurance rates increased 13 percent,” she said. “If that happens again, you do the math, we will be in more trouble.”

Doriean said the futures of school districts around the state, “are not pretty.”

“It’s not a pretty picture right now,” she said. “I understand that the state has to get its financial health back in order, and everyone has to share in that pain.”

Doriean said the state controls around 80 percent of what a school can spend, leaving the school in charge of the other 20 percent.

“Most schools have already cut down to the bare bones,” she said. “There is nothing left of that 20 percent for us to fiddle with, to cut the budget.”

Doriean said it will be hard for any school district to plan ahead for cuts they can’t control.

“We are going to have to figure out a way to cut that giant number out of our budgets,” she said.

Doriean said that last year school districts were able to receive American Recovery and Reinvestment Initiative money.

“That money will not be available to help back-fill those districts,” she said. “Everyone is on their own. With these added cuts, I don’t know how some districts will be able to make it.”

Options Doriean said that she has considered looking at include contacting other schools that participate in the North Star League.

“We don’t know if any of those other schools may be cutting sports or not,” she said. “We need to find out what some of the other districts may be considering that could affect us.”

Doriean said she will also be talking with the Bay-Arenac ISD to see what services they can provide.

“We need to find if they would consider providing shared business services or transportation,” she said.

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