Schools might not look the same in Saline next September.
A $48.6 million budget passed by the Saline Area Schools Board of Education Tuesday night would eliminate the equivalent of 16-17 full-time teaching positions, increase class sizes throughout the district, eliminate two or administrative positions, cut $830,000 in support staff costs and raise several fees on students and families.
The board passed the budget by a 7-0 vote after recessing for 30 minutes and going into executive session for 40 minutes.
“These are significant reductions that would have an impact across the board and in all areas,” said Superintendent Scot Graden.
The $2.6 million in staff reductions account for most of the $3.2 million in budget cuts. Other cuts will be made in spending on utilities, supplies, equipment and reductions.
Contract negotiations, state reforms could change budget
Despite the fact that the board passed the budget Tuesday, multiple factors could change the plan by September, if not much sooner.
The district is negotiating contracts with the Saline Education Association (teachers), Saline Educational Support Personnel Association (support staff) and Saline Area Schools Administrators Association (administrators).
Graden and Saline Education Association President Juan Lauchu were set to meet immediately following Tuesday's meeting.
A special board meeting has been called for 5 p.m. Wednesday night.
Interim finance director Janice Warner said the district will spend about $72,000 more than it takes in during the next school year. The sale of land on Maple Road would generate $569,000, and increase the district’s fund balance from approximately $1 million at the end of 2011-12 to $1.5 million at the end of 2012-13.
The new budget eliminates all but $72,000 of the $2 million structural deficit reported by Warner at the June 12 meeting.
The outlook could also change if the state senate approved by the state house, the district could save $700,000 next year. Other factors that could impact the budget are the state’s plans to repeal personal property taxes and legislation that could increase the barrier to participating in the school bond loan legislation, according to Warner’s report.
Pay-to-play fees will be raised $50 per student
The budget counts on $197,000 in revenues more than it took in 2011-12. One source of new revenue is increased pay-to-play sports fees, up by $50 per student in the high school and middle school. Saline Community Education will also be asked to contribute more money to the general fund.
Lauchu had no comment on the budget.
Saline Educational Support Personnel Association Val Porter said the budget inflicts a disproportionate amount of pain on support staff workers.
“They are looking for another $800,000 out of us. Considering what we make, what the teachers make and how much we’ve already given, I don’t see how this is fair,” Porter said.
Other budget highlights
- There is no change in the state foundation allowance after a $300 decrease in 2011-12.
- Student enrollment is expected to drop, despite gains in schools of choice.
- The district will lose $662,000 in Edujobs funding.
- Full day kindergarten mandated by the state will cost the district in half-day tuition and should also result in increased demand for kindergarten staff.
- The district hopes to raise $17,000 in tuition from out-of-district students in the Young Adult Program.