Archived Story

Preliminary school budget approved

Published 12:14am Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dowagiac Union Schools Board of Education made its final revision to the 2010-2011 budget Monday night in the middle school cafeteria and rolled out a preliminary spending plan for 2011-2012 which will be revised in November after more definitive data becomes available.
“General fund revenues are increased $769,000 to $20,863,000 while expenses have increased $377,000, giving us a total of $20,463,000. These changes in both revenues and expenses were generated by changes in federal grants,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Daniel reported. “The food service fund is balanced at $1,096,000. It is my recommendation that the Board of Education adopt this budget revision as presented.”
Approval came on a 5-0 vote by President Larry Seurynck, Michelle Helmuth, Stacy Leversen and, attending their last meeting as board members, Sherry File and former president Randy Cuthbert.
Claudia Zebell and Ronda Sullivan, elected in May, take their places at the board table at the July 18 organizational meeting.
Turning to the 2011-2012 preliminary budget, Daniel continued, “Assumptions used to calculate the budget are listed. General fund revenues are projected at $18,362,000, which includes using $483,700 for fund equity projects. Expenses are projected at $19,438,000, which leaves a deficit of $592,195.
“As is customary, this is a very conservative budget. It does not include the $100 per student for meeting the best practices issues. Nor any projected credit on the state increase in retirement costs. The food service fund is balanced with both revenues and expenses at $1,166,000. It is based on a millage rate of 2.65 mills for 2011-2012.”
Daniel said budget assumptions include a blended enrollment of 2,379 students, a state foundation allowance of $6,846 — which is $470 less than the previous year — a retirement increase to 24.46 percent, which is an increase of 3.8 percent, salaries for administrators are frozen at 2010-2011 rates, all grants funded at break even, property insurance no increase and fund equity projects at $483,700. It is my recommendation that the Board of Education adopt this preliminary budget for the 2011-2012 school year.”
In other June 20 business, the board adopted a health insurance policy holder resolution.
Daniel explained, “To be in a position to maximize the most cost-effective changes for our plans, we are requesting to become the policy holder of our health insurance plans. The board authorizes the superintendent to review the health insurance plans on an annual basis to assure the cost-effectiveness of each plan. Again, as policy holder, this enables us to meet one of the five best practices at the state, again, trying to reach for that additional $100 per student. As policy holder, we have some flexibility in regards to the types of coverage we can seek. MESSA, our current policy holder, has agreed to allow us to enter into this agreement, giving us some flexibility within MESSA parameters.”
The district also renewed its memberships in the Michigan High School Athletic Association for Union High and DMS.

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