Saline Area Schools faces a deficit near $6 million for upcoming school year, superintendent says
Saline Area Schools is projecting a deficit of just less than $6 million for the 2011-2012 school year, according to superintendent Scot Graden.
Graden said the district has recently started figuring out its budget for next year and is taking into account Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed cuts to education.
Graden said the district is anticipating receiving $3.75 million less from the state this year due to the proposed $300 per pupil cut in state funding, on top of a $170 per pupil cut from last year that will not be restored, and an increase in retirement costs amounting to about $230 per pupil.
“We’re early in the process,” Graden said. “We’re focused on working through the budget and keeping an eye on what’s going on in Lansing.”
Graden sent an email to staff and community members early Thursday morning, informing them of the budget shortfall and where the district stands right now.
Graden said the district is facing a $5.9 million budget shortfall, assuming the special-education millage renewal passes May 3. If that millage renewal fails, the deficit will grow approximately another $1 million, he said.
He said the district was anticipating facing a deficit — what Graden called “roll-up costs” that were regular, anticipated increases — between $1.2 million and $1.5 million before Snyder’s budget was released, making the deficit larger than normal.
“It is to a certain extent because of the severity of cuts from the state,” Graden said. “The roll-up cost is similar.”
During last year’s budget process, the district closed school buildings, including Houghton Elementary School, and used other measures to balance last year’s budget that are not available this time around, Graden said.
In the email, Graden said Saline schools have cut $6.8 million in expenses over the last three years and reduced support services budgets by more than 20 percent. In addition, Graden said, retirement costs to local districts have been increased by the state of Michigan by 44 percent in the last two years.
He said district officials are currently making up a list of potential cuts to balance the budget and will be looking to schedule community forums after spring break ends in mid-April.
“There are some difficult choices the community is going to have to make and we want to make sure their voice is heard,” Graden said.