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Graden: School Budget Reductions Will Impact Saline Schools 'Across the Board'

Saline's School Board passed a budget that would result in the layoff of 16-17 teachers, increase class sizes, and increase pay-to-play and other fees.

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.
D Friese June 27, 2012 at 02:19 AM
The problem faced by all school districts and universities in this state are a direct result of the actions of Snyder and our republican controlled legislature.
SalineDad June 27, 2012 at 03:08 AM
The systems are broke, it is not a Democratic, nor a Republican issue. The same thing happened with the automotive industry. School districts are getting smaller. Government is changing and will continue to change. Those who adapt will survive. If not, how many schools will be facing bankruptcy soon. Do you think the Federal Government will bail them out?
Travis Wylie June 27, 2012 at 03:49 AM
K-12 everywhere is closing in quickly on becoming Pay-to-Learn just like colleges are, yet it will not be optional to attend like college.
SCOOBYDOO June 27, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Well said SalineDad. The unions want to raise taxes and continue business as usual. The taxpayers are tired of providing benefits that allow teachers to retire at the age of 52, provide double digit sick days for 9-10 months worked, provide pensions and healthcare till employee and spouse die 30-40 years after retirement. Those in the private sector don't enjoy these benefits, yet their income is taken to give benefits to a small group of folks that feel entitled to it. And those union folks would rather have 16-17 of their fellow employees get fired as opposed to taking reasonable cuts to pension and healthcare reform( get rid of MESSA). The city of Stockton California may file for bankrupcy, perhaps Saline Schools schools should look at that alternative down the road so they can wipe the slate clean and start over. I know of several young education graduates who would be very happy to get a job in the Saline School district.
GiGi June 27, 2012 at 02:25 PM
OMGoodness ScoobyDoo, Well put!!! And we needed a new high school that's like a University because??? Over spending and then some is already causing K-12 to become Pay-to-Learn!!!
Scylding June 27, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Just like the perennielly stalled economy and high unemployment we continue to face after over three years of the Obama presidency are both Bush's fault? Yeah, right.
HornetMom June 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Nice try. The problem of spending more than the school district takes in was here LONG before the Governor and republican controlled legislature were. As others have said, this isn't a republican versus democrat issue. This is a financial issue plain and simple. If you spend more than you take in then there are going to be problems. To believe otherwise is to have your head buried in the sand. To believe the overtaxed citizens should continue to foot the bill is reprehensible.
john Waterman June 29, 2012 at 04:22 PM
I agree that the system is broke and continue to make tax cuts is only pushing us over the cliff faster. We need to hold expenses, but than will need to replace the funding that was taken away from the schools. We can not starve our schools to death. The teachers did their part and now it is time for the businesses and tax payers to do their part. A tax cut for extra spending money is not a sacrifice regardless of what some individuals want me to believe.

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