The Boyne City Public School Board of Education met for its regular meeting and budget hearing Monday June 22, to discuss the amended 2014-15 budget and proposed budget for 2015-16.
The public filled the room Monday night to voice concerns of budget cuts, which will result in class size increases, reducing classes and possibly teachers being reduced.
2014-15 Amended Budget
Irene Byrne, Boyne City Public Schools Business Manager, listed the budget changes during the hearing, as well as the proposed budget items for 2015-16.
The projected amended budget for 2014-15 ended at $12,998,361 and the appropriated budget for 2015-16 ended at $12,153,985.
“The amended budget ended up being $170,000 (over) because we also did a copy machine at the high school and there is a little bit of money being allocated for dues and fees,” said Byrne. “Because of the fund balance, we are being hit with bank fees for this fund.”
The food service budget amended for 2014-15 school year came to a total in revenues of $528,195, the audited fund balance was $3,177.
“I am projecting that we are going to stay in the black, and end right around $4,372,” said Byrne. “There are still some parents coming in, federal hot lunch reimbursements and we also have our commodities to book…. We were allocating $527,000 for food, milk and repairs. Commodities, salaries, benefits and at this time $527,560.”
A board member asked why there was an increase in miscellaneous expenditures from $5,200 to $6,900. Byrne told the board that repairs, software and state fees were filed under miscellaneous increasing the dollar amount.
“There were changes in basic programming because last year the budget was based on less FTEs than we ended up at in September,” said Byrne. “We had some retirements come in close to the end, we didn’t fill those positions so it went from 6.6 to 6.8.”
The audited fund balance ended at $536,238, and for the next year, Byrne said they project around $259,187 and will end with an estimated $1,227,051 of a fund balance.
The board is looking at the 2015-16 budget to be set at revenue of $12,142,000 assuming the retirement rate is flat at 25.78 percent.
The original 2015-16 tech budget is projecting a fund balance of $3,042, the board will discuss whether they will close the fund because the fees outweigh the amount they accumulate in interest each month.
“This was general fund money that was set aside for technology,” said Byrne.
The following are estimated dollar amounts for the 2015-16 budget:
Basic programs – $6,530,342
Added needs – $1,577,513
Pupil support – $456,421
Instructional support – $218,295
General administration – $316,259
School administration – $605,222
Business operations – $173,192
Ops and maintenance – $1,296,783
Pupil transportation – $540,083
Support services – $416,951
Community services, outgoing transfers, transactions – $22,924
Total appropriated – $12,153,985
Local sources – $6,004,023
Non ed sources – $16,000
State sources – $5,057,851
Federal sources – $321,534
Incoming transfers and transactions – $743,350
Total revenues – $12,142,758
Regular Board Meeting
Peter Moss, Boyne City Public Schools Superintendent, adressed public comments made about the budget hearing.
Moss spoke to the concerns of the public, listed ways the board worked to save programs and make as few cuts as possible.
“At least $750,000 a month goes into our payroll, that includes salaries, wages, retirement; multiply that out by 12 that’s about 84 percent of our budget,” said Moss. “The rest of it is payable, that’s just the price of doing business…. We are at the mercy of what the state decides to give us on a per-pupil basis. Fortunately, under Governor Snyder, the last few years we have known for the most part what our per pupil funding is by July 1st.”
Moss said the board hopes to have a stronger credit rate next year, and plans to go to the voters to work on this, he also addressed several suggestions to spend down the fund equity.
“What would happen if we spent down the fund equity?” said Moss. “If we made absolutely no reductions at all, just kept things as we had them right now, the budget for ‘14-‘15 gotta update the numbers. We spent down the fund equity by $250,000, however if you don’t do anything, you almost have to double that amount in following year.”
Moss talked about Detroit being $1.2 billion in debt, and the papers reporting that there are talks of them doing something to the retirement system, leaving Boyne City Schools unsure what the rate will be next year.
“We have about 30 teachers at elementary, unfortunately two of them are at the bottom of the ratings scale not necessarily because they are poor, ineffective teachers, it’s just that we have a very strong staff and someone’s gonna have to be at the top and unfortunately somebody’s gonna be at the bottom of that,” Moss said.
Moss said about the rumors that the art teacher will be cut first, no one necessarily knows that, but he addressed that if that were the case other teachers would take on the position of the art teacher.
In response to rumors that the art teacher will be cut, some parents voiced concerns about how that isn’t fair to add an art class onto the workload of a teacher who went to school to become proficient in what they teach.
Other comments addressed concerns that the class would then be watered down, with an unqualified teacher in the position of inadequately teaching students art because of the cuts.
“It’s no different than a private sector job—when your job description changes, you adapt,” Moss said. “And I’m sure whoever the teacher will be will adapt, learn, prepare, teach and grow in that position.”
He added, “They’ve got all summer to work on that, if it comes down to it.”
Monica Kroondyk, parent and president of the Boyne City Public Elementary PTO spoke at the meeting, voicing concerns of the budget cuts they are facing.
“I’d like to say thank-you, I know this is a very difficult task you are faced with and I know it’s not easy,” she said. “And I know each one of you care about the kids just as much as we do…. I am going to ask you to do whatever you can to preserve class sizes. Having smaller class sizes is going to benefit kids throughout their education. Not just early on.”
Kroondyk added, “I’ve heard it quoted before that up until third grade and from that point on they are reading to learn…. As the PTO president this is something I can go back and tell other parents: what can I do? This is a crappy situation and you guys are forced to make these horrible decisions and I feel like the only time we as parents come to the plate is when you are faced with horrible decisions. What can we do in the meantime?”
Moss replied to Kroondyk, suggesting the parents go to the state representatives, asking for grants and explaining the school’s situation.
He said the board has contacted them numerous times and after a while they don’t listen to them anymore.
Concerned parents can contact the state.
A motion was made that the calender for the 2015-16 year be adopted was approved with a unanimous vote.
A motion was made that the general fund resolution for the 2015-16 year was accepted was unanimously passed.
A motion was made that the 2014-15 year amended budget be approved was passed with a unanimous vote
A motion was made that approval of the 2014-15 food service budget passed with a 5-1 vote
A motion was made that approval of the 2015-16 food service budget passed with a 5-1 vote
A motion was made that the capital bond project budget be approved was passed unanimously.
A motion was made that the 2014-15 year end amendment, capital improvement fund be approved passed with a unanimous vote.
A motion was made that the capital improvement fund resolution for 2015-16 be approved passed with a unanimous vote.