You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Saline school board passes balanced budget with $97K deposit to savings account

By Danielle Arndt

The Saline Area Schools Board of Education recently approved a balanced budget for the 2013-14 academic year that restores $97,215 to the district's fund balance, or primary savings account.

After four consecutive years of budget deficits, cuts, reducing staff and even considering privatizing some employees, Saline quietly passed its nearly $52 million operating budget and with little fanfare this year.

The Saline Board of Education has a policy that if its fund balance drops below 5 percent of its operating budget, the district has two years to restore it, which the district achieved this budget cycle. The additional $97,215 placed into the district's fund equity brings the total account balance to $2.59 million, equaling 5.13 percent of Saline's general fund.

Board President David Holden in a press release praised school employees and officials for helping the board take this step toward creating long-term financial stability at Saline Area Schools.

"You don't have to look far to see the negative impact on providing quality education to students when finances are mismanaged," Holden said in a statement. "The board acknowledges the cooperation we have received from the collective bargaining units. Their support has been a key element in restoring financial stability."

Superintendent Scot Graden said the district is in a much better position than in recent memory. But Graden added the district still must be cautious moving forward.

"We have weathered the economic downturn and look with confidence into the future," he said.

This is the second year in a row Saline schools has not had to issue layoff notices to staff and during these past two years, the district actually has hired 26 teachers, according to the news release.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 1:42 a.m.

As a Saline resident with children involved in the schools; I would like to thank Supt. Graden, SBOE and all school staff/employees for working together to allow approval of this balanced budget. I am sure that it was a very difficult collaborative effort but it certainly signifies the dedication of all involved toward not only a blanced budget but a future of excellence for our children. THANK YOU!!


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

Someone from AAPS needs to find out the secret to Saline's success.


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

The AA BOE would never take advice from anyone else. They know everything!


Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 2:17 p.m.

I don't think they spend any money or time worrying about the achievement gap. I know at my aaps elementary we spend all of our school improvement team money and time on it and don't have much to show for it. Focus on delivering a quality education to the kids, try to reach those who are refusing what you are giving, but don't get consumed by it.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 30, 2013 : 12:18 a.m.

Republicans on the school board?


Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

Saline is about 1/3 of the size of AAPS. Additionally, I wonder how much Saline receives in private donations. Anyone know?

Shawn Letwin

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:49 p.m.

Well done! Was it easy? Probably not. Was it tempting to just point fingers at what others should do instead, or just point the finger at the state instead of having the hard discussions on the "how" do we move forward? Without question. Did group feel like they lost something? It goes without saying. But it was probably understood by everyone what they had to individually in order to collectively save the whole. Well done and an inspiration for those in other communities who aspire for the same. Living in Dexter I can only say that "hope springs eternal" because the Dexter BOE's own data shows the district being insolvent in about 3 years. Dexter BOE continues to do doing nothing to stem the deficit spending from the last few years. Last year the budget in June was approved with over a 1 million dollar deficit, increasing the deficit another $500K by November and then it ballooning to over a 2 million dollar deficit at the end of this year (including adding 70K because of a "formula error" by the CFO last November). Saline has made many hard choices for next year. Dexter is doing just the opposite...adding a new assistant superintendent, increase the assistant principal position from 1/2 time to full time, paying an additional $460K for teachers health costs and reducing district health plan costs by making changes to plan benefits, failing to secure a contract with teachers that could reduce the districts largest expense, expanding expenses for a duplicate IB program and the list goes on. While Saline celebrates, Dexter schools are suffering from the collective apathy of the community as a whole because of a disingenuous BOE.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 29, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

Saline Area Schools have been diligent about closing buildings they are no longer using. I'm sure not everyone is happy about some of the school boundary changes but their approach has generated considerable savings to the district due to lower administration, maintenance, and utiity costs. Makes you wonder if the same strategy might work in Ann Arbor.