By Sylvia Stevens
An anticipated budget was prepared by the Harrison Community Schools Board of Education for the 2014-2015 school year, June 9. The board is waiting to see if Governor Rick Snyder will sign the proposed state aid budget approved by the legislature last week before they approve their budget.
“The recommended cuts were based on the best information we had,” superintendent Tom House said. “We made sufficient cuts to the 2014/2015 budget based on the $111per-pupil increase the governor was saying we would get.”
The budget deficit is anticipated to be around $660,000 pending the governor’s decision. The board prepared recommended cuts based on that deficit totaling around $470,000. That would leave about $190,000 to be paid by its reserves leaving the projected fund balance at under $2 million.
If the state aid budget is approved that would increase the per-pupil foundation allowance by $175 per student. House said the district is funded at the lowest levels, so any extra $64 a student would help decrease the budget deficit. School budgets must be approved before the fiscal year begins July 1.
“The budget approved by the legislatures, but not signed by the governor yet, would give us slightly more per pupil and about $90,000 more for the school,” House said. “We hope that more per pupil will be the case, but any increase is welcome and we are extremely grateful.”
The district is anticipating a loss of 25 students in the 2014/2015 school year bringing their student body to 1425. The hope is the number of students lost will be lower, but the past few years have seen a slow but steady drop in enrollment. The School’s fund balance has also seen a steady drop from over $3 million seven years ago to under $2 million this coming year.
House stressed that no programs or staffing positions would be eliminated. However certain programs would be reduced and certain positions would become half time or three quarter time positions. Possible cuts could include: aids could see a reduction in hours; a middle school counselor position could be reduced to half time and a band position could be reduced to three quarter time in the fall and half time in the winter.
“These reductions are painful and this isn’t the first time we have had to cut this much,” House said. “We hope to eventually regain funding to bring these programs back to full capacity.”