Schools Have No Way To Plan

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

No matter how many books they dust off or lockers they clean out, school districts are telling us they just can't be fully ready for the upcoming school year because they have no idea how much money they're receiving from the state.

"We approved a budget back in May," says Charlotte Schools Associate Superintendent of Business Don Sovey.

But that budget assumed the state would give the same amount of student funding as last year-- no increase, no decrease.

To account for that, Sovey says Charlotte eliminated 30 positions and sliced where they could.

"At that point, things seemed stable," he says of the state.

Now, the $2 million they cut might not be enough, as they wait for the state to make a last-minute budget.

"We're starting to plan for a decrease," Sovey says. "Every expenditure that's about to take place, we're examining very closely."

Dave Martell of the Michigan School Business Officials thinks that's wise, from what he's hearing at the state level.

"It looks like, at a minimum, we're looking at a $150 per kid reduction," Martell says.

Calls we made to the Lansing and East Lansing school districts confirm they're in similar boats, as are so many others in mid-Michigan, they say; they've already had to cut so much, from staff to athletic coaching support and programs,

But with school starting in less than two weeks in Charlotte, and the state's budget still not figured out, the district tells they're having to hold off on doing things they'd like to do before school starts.

"We're looking at every supply purchase, asking ourselves do we really need to make purchases, and equipment," Sovey says. "Every employee position as well."

"You can privatize custodians, privatize transportation, food services, reduce alternative programs, reduce other extra curriculars," says Martell.

All things schools don't want to do, but might have to because of the budget.

The state budget must be set by Sept. 30 to avoid a state shutdown that would happen at the start of the fiscal year, Oct. 1. Schools' budgets were already set July 1.

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  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Sep 18, 2009 at 09:05 AM
    I love how the schools side step the REAL problem! They nibble around the edges by privitizing food services, custodians and bus drivers but avoid tackling the real problem! In my area, many teachers make between 50-75,000 a year for a nine month job! (Even more for principals and administrators!) The school boards need to get some guts and drasticly reduce these bloated wages and benefits to acceptable level. You can't have public employees making these wages when the taxpayers are struggling to keep their bills paid! Get some guts school boards and do what is needed now! Thank you
  • by Anonymous on Aug 28, 2009 at 06:04 AM
    It is easy to plan. Schools should stop relying on government handouts. Charter and private schools are becoming popular because they are being run on tight budgets and no extra spending.
  • by Anonymous on Aug 28, 2009 at 04:57 AM
    Not enough jobs= so not enough tax money needed.Thousands without no money,People in need of so much.Tell me the government of Mich didn't see all these problems coming last year,right after the last budget problems.They had figures coming in monthly.Did they get jobs into mich.and Do what was needed to get them here?No.At this point no one knows what is going to happen.
  • by marie Location: mi on Aug 27, 2009 at 10:10 PM
    Many people are wondering if they will have a job in the future.Many are worrying where there next meal is coming from.Many homeless wonder if they will have shelter,or if they will be a muged or worse. As crimes against them are not talked about.Many still worry about if they will loose their homes.How will they make it without unemployment as many will run out soon.Many are wondering how much fuel will be this winter and if they can pay it.Hoping they'll have enough blankets and stuff to keep warm if shut offs happen.Social secerity people counted on a cost of living raise but won't get it.But yet their medical costs go up.Many are fearing what cuts to the poor will do so the rich can have it all.Many worry about love ones getting killed in the wars.Many worry about illness because they have no insurance.Many hate the lies and false hope the gov gives out.Many are worried about NO jobs.The one thing that could fix many problems.Great point Sharon.A .The gov won't get your point.
  • by Sharon Location: East Lansing on Aug 27, 2009 at 04:44 PM
    I have an idea! Why doesn't each teacher from their own district send a report card and progress report to their local state representative and have it say "There was homework that was given to you that needed to be done in a timely manner and since it is late and you have not put any effort in to finishing it I regret to tell you that you have been given an F for your grade this year and have failed!" If our students in school behaved and was this slow at handing in homework they would probably fail, get detention or kicked out! Our students are more civil than you and we have decided to kick you out of office!
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