Boyne City Public Schools teachers are pictured as they wait outside during the closed session of a recent school board meeting.
By Benjamin Gohs
On June 28, a detailed, line item budget of Boyne City Public Schools for the 2011-2012 school year was requested by the Boyne City Gazette.
The Boyne City Gazette was sent the same basic budget provided to the Boyne City Public Schools Board of Education. And, on June 29, the paper was told a more detailed document did not exist.
While the Uniform Budgeting and Accounting Act of 1968 does not mandate a line item budget be used when adopting the school’s budget for a final vote of the school board, the practice of creating and providing detailed budgets is required by law, and it is common practice among many school districts, including Charlevoix Public Schools which provides line item budgets to both the public and its school board members previous to meetings wherein the budget will be adopted.
After protesting that a more detailed budget must exist, the Boyne City Gazette was told it would receive documents, but not until after June 30 because the schools had to meet their state-mandated deadline to file the newly-passed budget.
On July 1, the Boyne City Gazette again requested the detailed budget in addition to several other documents, but received no response despite phone calls and e-mails to school officials on the matter.
Finally, on July 5, the Boyne City Gazette submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the detailed budget, school staff salary information and a copy of the previous year’s teachers’ contract.
On July 21, the information was delivered electronically to the Boyne City Gazette.
The following list details the source and amount of local taxes collected to help pay for school operations:
• Bay Township $1,521,200
• Boyne Valley Township $9,868
• Evangeline Township $711,137
• Eveline Township $354,742
• Hayes Township $228,305
• Melrose Township $541,063 • Wilson Township $280,205
• Boyne City – Summer $917,700 • Boyne City – Winter $1,043,400 • Property Tax – Delinquent
• Jordan Township $20,200 • Warner Township $27,021
• Tax – Comm Forest $46 • Brd Of Rev & Mtt $75,000 Total $5,737,097The school’s revenue also includes $47,000 from local casinos and $4,171,600 in Proposal “A” funding.
Sporting, theater and catering are expected to bring in another $444,290 with the bigger earners being Boyne schools’ hospitality catering service with $35,000; football gate receipts of $15,000 and $170,000 from the “Early Learners” program.
Building rental fees are expected to garner $30,000 and the schools are benefited by nearly $11,000 in athletic and performing arts donations.
Total revenue for the next fiscal year is expected to be $12,123,453.
Blaming the state for last-minute education funding decisions, and citing scheduling conflicts with some school officials, Boyne City Public Schools provided a budget to the school board mere days before the meeting to adopt the budget was to be held.
The meeting was met by a throng of citizens concerned over the then plan to cut several advanced preparatory classes in order to help balance the budget.
Looking to appease the concerned parents and students, school board members said they would reexamine the budget and look for alternative ways to save money.
“We have previously had two sections of a class called ACIT, a testing preparation elective for juniors who want some help in how to take standardized tests … and we reduced that down to one section,” said Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent Peter Moss. “We eliminated one of two sections of healthy nutrition (class) and we eliminated completely a class called career planning – we’re thinking that our counselors will pick that up through normal activities anyway.”
Other savings will be realized by reducing nine sections of advance physical education classes to six.
Savings at the middle school will come from the reduction from three fulltime para-pro teaching assistants to two.
“No question about it, the directive from the board was they wanted to find alternatives to having to cut advanced placement classes,” Moss said. “So, we went back to the drawing board with our principals and found some ways to make some reductions in scheduling that didn’t necessarily eliminate programs entirely.”
He added, “I think this turned out to be an excellent solution. I’m just thankful our administrative staff was able to go back and look at programming and offerings and found ways to maintain programs and still get the reductions that were necessary for a balanced budget.”
The reductions in classes and staffing will total between $80,000 and $100,000.
Altogether Boyne schools must use $600,000 of their fund equity … a move which will leave the district with approximately $1.2 million in its rainy day fund.
Even before the economy began slowing to a stall in recent years, school districts were finding an ever-shrinking pool of funding with which to operate.
“There are a lot of factors that would have to be determined to find out how much we will have to dip into next year,” Moss said.
A potential economic rebound and an anticipated increase in enrollment could go a long way to help local financial woes.
“We’ve had some inquiries for schools of choice – about 38 kids – but we never know how many kids we will have until school starts.”
Total expenditures for the next fiscal year are set at $12,750,148.
The school nurse will cost $58,271 in salary, dental insurance and supplies.
At-risk social worker costs $60,575 with $39,000 of that salary and the rest in benefits, supplies and workshops.
The school board costs $5,000 in salary, but a total of $39,985 is allocated for election, advertising, supplies, workshops and conference and other miscellaneous expenses.
The superintendent’s office will cost the district $267,454 this year.
His salary is $109,500 in addition to $10,000 in fringe benefits. His secretary earns $35,900. The rest of the cost is in insurance, retirement, conferences and workshops, supplies and other miscellaneous charges.
School administration – principals and secretaries – will cost an estimated $577,079.
The high school principal earns $80,004 plus benefits; the elementary principal earns $84,468 plus benefits; and the middle school principal earns $85,000.
During the hashing out of the budget earlier this summer, Boyne City High School Principal Karen Jarema offered to sacrifice some of her paycheck to help balance the budget.
Maintenance and custodial to the building and grounds, which includes snow removal, cleaning and repairs, is expected to cost $ 1,333,316.
Transportation costs, which include bus drivers, mechanics, parts and equipment and fuel, are expected to be $539,572.
Athletic director salary, officials for games and coaching costs are estimated at $321,894.
The auditorium manager, equipment and supplies will cost $19,380.
The three schools combined have been allocated $45,000 for textbooks.
Cost to employ teachers
• Elementary school:
Health insurance: $350,000
• Middle school:
Health insurance: $242,100
• High school
Alt ed teacher – $148,000
Health insurance: $258,000
These figures do not include special education teachers salary or benefit information.