School board looks at possibility of cuts, layoffsPublished 12:50pm Thursday, April 15, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
The Edwardsburg Public Schools Board of Education received preliminary budget proposals from each of its district schools as well as various departments including administration, information technology and maintenance.
Chief Financial Officer Anne Flautt said that overall, the district would be looking at a deficit of more than $1.1 million projected for the 2010-11 school year.
“This is the most up to date information we have at this time,” Flautt said, stating that final state funding figures had yet to be released.
The district, like others throughout the state, is expecting to see similar cuts in state aid as experienced last year.
Flautt said that could come out to $165 less in state aid per student next year plus an additional $268 per student in reduced revenue.
Flautt also told the board to expect a reduction in Title 1 funding and “there will be no more federal stimulus money to supplant the state funding,” she said.
One by one, school principals and directors presented the board with brief overviews of their current and projected budgets.
Many districts are looking at where and how to make cuts to their expenses leaving supporters of certain programs scared at what the future might hold.
Speculation has arisen in those districts at whether popular programs like athletics or the arts would suffer.
Following Edwardsburg athletic director Kevin Dean’s presentation of the athletic budget, Superintendent Sherman Ostrander said, “There are no plans to recommend to the board reductions in athletics.”
Other departments are looking at what they can do to curb costs. Information technology director Gary Sawtelle said his department would look at off lease equipment, which would provide “slightly older machines with a full three year warranty” and possibly save money.
Glimpse at the future
The special meeting held Monday night at the district’s Administrative Center also gave school officials a chance to give the board a glance at what their buildings were working on in regards to programs or initiatives in the future.
Following high school principal Donald Quimby’s presentation, Ostrander noted that while cuts are on the agenda, some new standards might put the district in the position to add jobs as well.
“As we’ll be looking at cuts in some areas,” he said, “though it might seem like an oxymoron, we might be looking at adding staff in some areas while reducing staff in other areas.”
Doing so, he said, would be in part due to state mandates that might create a need in the district for certain teachers.
Ostrander added that he was concerned about kindergarten enrollment.
Reasons behind lower than expected numbers could vary in many ways, he said. From displaced workers who’ve had to leave the area to find work, to parents utilizing schools of choice, the superintendent is keeping his eye on incoming students.
“That enrollment tells me volumes,” he said.