Ypsilanti schools budget includes reduced health care for all staff
The Ypsilanti Board of Education unanimously passed the district’s 2011-12 budget, reducing health care for all staff and changing some long-standing district transportation policies.
The school board also approved borrowing $14 million from the State Aid Program in order to have adequate funds to get through the school year. That amount is less than the amount borrowed to finance the 2010-11 school year.
Superintendent Dedrick Martin said balancing the coming school year’s $49 million budget was another step toward fixing the district’s structural deficit problem. He said the cuts in state funding for public education were not doing Ypsilanti schools any favors.
“At a time when expectations for student performance is increasing, and rightfully so, and we’re expecting to demand more from our schools, we’re also stripping valuable resources,” Martin said, adding that the district has been forced to cut about $9 million from its budget in the two years he’s been superintendent.
The state budget, passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder last week, calls for a new $300 per pupil cut along with a $170 per pupil cut passed under Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Retirement costs are also expected to go up by approximately $253 per pupil, but the state is providing districts with an average of $100 per pupil to help with retirement costs.
Among the cuts in the 2011-12 Ypsilanti schools budget are:
- A cap on health care service for all staff, which will save $1.7 million
- Reductions in transportation services, which will save $250,000
- The elimination of academic coordinator positions, which will save $326,131
- Reductions in instructional staff positions, which will save $320,000
To view a PDF file of the budgets approved Monday, click here.
The transportation changes will see in-district Schools of Choice students no longer transported from home to school, according to chief financial officer David Houle. Students will now be required to make their way to the nearest school building before being transported to their school.
District officials are counting on receiving funding for adhering to “best practices” set out by Snyder, which would result in a $100 per pupil one-time payment. Martin said the best practices are “very vague” at this point but they are targets the district must hit.
“We’re guarded about if we’re going to be able to meet them, however we really realize that financially we have to figure out how to meet those,” Martin said.
The budget also takes into account a number of savings from a new contract agreed to with the Ypsilanti Support Services Association. The new contract saved the school district $873,475 for the 2011-12 school year.
The news that the district was going to borrow less money from the state than it did the year before gave board president David Bates a positive outlook on the budget.
The district borrowed approximately $16 million from the state in 2010-11, district officials said.
“It strikes me to clarify that we have made some progress,” Bates said.
The biggest concern for trustee Andy Fanta is the number of students who will be enrolled in the district during the 2011-12 school year. That number goes a long way to determine funding for the district.
One of the assumptions built into the district’s 2011-12 budget is that 20 additional students will come into the Ypsilanti school district. Fanta said the district is on the right track but has some tough decisions to make ahead.
“We want this district to remain solvent and to be solvent and we want to make our mandate that the state has imposed upon us,” he said.