Schools Contemplate Next Moves

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

It's a lesson in math no one wanted.

"To me, this is horrific," says Eaton Rapids Superintendent Bill DeFrance.

DeFrance heard Friday his district, along with every other district in the state, will be down $165 a student this current school year. He'd already budgeted for a $125 per-pupil reduction. Who knew his worst case scenario would get worse yet?

"The number for me doesn't make a difference," DeFrance says. "It stinks that three-and-a-half months into the school year we're getting the bad news."

Even though Eaton Rapids did plan for a hefty reduction in per pupil funding, it simply wasn't enough. Now the superintendent says he has no other option than to make some changes to the district right away.

"Probably two to three jobs we'll have to eliminate before Christmas," he says.

"Last year in planning, we cut $2 million. Now we're going to go cut another half-million," says Charlotte Superintendent Nancy Hipskind.

Now with $500,000 in adjustments to make, Hipskind says she'll do her best to keep the cuts from the classroom-- but money is making that hard.

"You cannot maintain high quality programs when you continue to make those severe cuts," she says.

Hipskind says they'll look now at delaying text book and supply purchases, and could look to cut auxiliary staff.

Eaton Rapids is facing the same issues.

"It could impact support we provide for our kids, could impact operations we provide... custodial, food services, aides," DeFrance says.

Making this year, DeFrance says, the most challenging he's ever seen.

Lansing Schools spokesman Steve Serkaian says that district did not budget for any sort of increase or decrease in per pupil funding, and now they are down $2.3 million.


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