More cuts possible at Central Montcalm schools

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 11:25 am on Friday, June 01, 2012

STANTON — More cuts may be necessary for the Central Montcalm Public School as it strives to submit a balanced budget to the state in four weeks.

In April, the board approved $1.5 million in cuts. In May, they made another $238,000 in cuts. At a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, board members learned an additional $500,000 to $600,000 in cuts may be necessary.

Montcalm Area Intermediate School District Assistant Superintendent of Finance Ron Simon was hired by the Central Montcalm school board in April to fill a similar role in a job-sharing capacity.

“There are three ways to balance a budget,” Simon said. “One is to increase revenues, another is to reduce expenditures and the third is a combination of the two. We have 30 days and it is what it is.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest expenses for a school district is its people. That also means the biggest cuts will come from people.”

Simon showed pie charts plotting out revenue sources from local, state and federal levels. Currently, the district receives more than 77 percent of its general fund revenue from the state level.

“How different is this chart when you look at other districts?” asked school board Mark Grossbauer. “Is this a snapshot of an average district?”

“There would be some variation, depending on categoricals or at-risk students, but most districts are in the 75 to 80 percentile,” said Simon.

Simon said most districts turn over approximately 50 percent of their revenue to salaries.

“How do we spend our funds? Fifty percent of it will be used for salaries, another 29 percent allocated for benefits and 21 percent for other purposes,” Simon said.

Alongside this is a projected drop in student enrollment in the fall and an increase in teacher salaries due to step increases, according to Superintendent Jake Helms.

“Most likely we will do some cuts, and have the board approve the budget by July 1,” Helms said. “Then Ron will come back at the July budget meeting, we will know more from the state (about per-pupil and other sources of income,) the board can make amendments.”

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