September 19, 2014

Standish-Sterling adopts 2009-10 budget amidst uncertainty

“There is no good news.”

By Tim Barnum|Staff writer
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STANDISH — A state budget crisis, large outgoing graduating class and the closing of the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility has the administration at Standish-Sterling Community Schools District (S-S) walking a fiscal tightrope.

According to S-S Business Specialist Mike Waldie, the district is anticipating a huge loss of students for 2009-10, which hurts the district in the revenue department.

“My budget went on losing 100 students total,” Waldie said. “We graduated 167 and right now we have 110 signed up for kindergarten.”

“We have no idea how many (students) we’re going to lose from the prison. … We won’t know how much students we lose until the fall count day.”

A copy of the adopted budget, which was passed at the S-S Board of Education’s June meeting, shows the district spending approximately $17.2 million while only generating about $15.7 million dollars in revenue, nearly a $700,000 revenue decrease when compared to last year.

This is a blow to the district’s fund balance, which only diminished by a little more than $700,000 last fiscal year according to the budget adoption, but will be drained of approximately $1.5 million this year, leaving the fund balance at roughly $3.5 million.

Waldie says the state is still telling school districts that, like last year, $7,316 will be allocated per student.

“Some of it (per pupil allocation) came from the Federal Stimulus money,” he said. “Right now they’re (state) saying that next year there’s not enough stimulus money for $7,316.”

Because funding has become a year-to-year surprise, Waldie says the district may have to make some tough decisions on programs and personnel.

“Everything is in the open,” he said. “There is no good news.

“They’re (state) talking about cutting our grants right now.”

Waldie added that the school district receives grants for at-risk student services and additional programs and aides for struggling students who in some cases suffer from learning disabilities.

The state of Michigan requires school districts to pass a budget for the upcoming school year before July 1.

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