Belding school board OKs budget resolution

By Cory Smith • Last Updated 12:23 pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BELDING — Members of the Belding Area Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Monday night to approve a 2012-2013 budget resolution for the district’s general fund and food service.

According to Finance Director Adrienne Barna, the projected expenditures in next year’s budget total $17,705,633 with $16,940,660 in revenues, leaving a deficit of next year’s budget at approximately $764,973.

With the fund balance beginning at $2,465,715, the ending fund balance of the 2012-2013 year is estimated at $1,700,742.

Superintendent Leslie Mount said it is a striking result to see revenues for the district drop from $20 million from the 2007-2008 school year to just under $17 million for the upcoming school year, making it hard yet again to initiate a fair amount of cuts throughout the district.

“I think the big thing to look at is over a very few short years there will be a difference in revenues of $20 million to $16 million,” Mount said.

According to Mount, the largest contributing factor is the $470 reduction in state aid per student that was initiated by Gov. Rick Snyder’s office in 2010.

“That obviously impacts revenues which have to impact expenditures,” she said. “We have been spending fund equity the last few years trying to mitigate the impact of those hits.”

According to Board President Tom Humphreys, the district is estimating that there will be a reduction in 70 students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Last year’s estimate was also a reduction of 70 students, but after the state mandated student count was performed, the actual number of students from the 2010-2011 to the 2011-2012 school year turned out to be double that amount at a reduction of 140 students, leading to additional cuts and the eventual privatization of the district’s janitorial staff.

“As far as the 70 student reduction, we really have no idea, it is just an estimate,” Humpreys said. “This is obviously going to affect our revenue stream.

Humphreys said come autumn when the student count is performed, the board will have a much clearer picture of where the district sits financially.

“Hopefully it will be better than our projections, but we just don’t know,” he said.
Addressing additional cuts, specifically to the band program, which has had its budget reduced to approximately $6,000, Humphreys said no specific part of the budget is being targeted unfairly.

“I know that many times, especially the arts, in the past I think, rightfully have felt that they have been targeted as far as cuts,” he said. “But I can tell you that these cuts have been across the board. I think this budget has been done with equity in those regards. Hopefully this is a worst case scenario and we’re hoping as numbers change we can restore some of those funds on some level, but nothing is guaranteed.”

According to state law, the tentative budget must be finalized by June 30 in order for the district to receive state funds, a point board member Timothy Flynn reiterated to the public in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

“This is a budget that we ware required to pass, it doesn’t mean it’s going to end up that way at the end of the year,” he said. “Typically we have to have some amendments presented and passed. We’re unsure of our revenue at this time. We’re unsure of all of our expenditures. This is just our best guest.”

Board members also approved a motion to approve a budget amendment to the 2011-2012 budget.

According to Barna, the projected expenditures in the amended budget totaled $18,610,137 with $17,612,475 in revenues, leaving a deficit of approximately $997,662.

In other matters, board members approved a motion to borrow against the state in order to replace cash flow shortages during the month of June.

Board members agreed to approve the motion at an amount of $1,300,000.

According to Mount, in August, the superintendent or designee, with legal counsel, will determine which avenue will be the most advantageous for the district in pursuing that amount.

Board members also approved the acceptance of the new Middle College Program.

Belding Area Schools is working with Davenport University to offer the Middle College Program for eligible high school students.

At the end of the 5-year commitment, students will receive a high school diploma from Belding Area Schools and an Associate Degree from Davenport University.

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