LSD Board Works Toward Budget

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

The June 30th deadline is nearing for the Lansing school board to solve its budget shortfall and it appears to have hit a snag. School district leaders were going to finish up tomorrow but now they've pushed that to the middle of next week.

The school district has raided its rainy day fund, laid off hundreds of employees and is now trying to chip away at its nearly $8 million deficit.

"Because we don't control the revenue source, it's a state source, we're always dependent on the state's allocation per student so if that allocation continues to dwindle we'll always be in a hole," said board member Guillermo Lopez.

Lopez says everything is on the table, from closing more schools to looking for other sources of revenue.

"We're limited in a way --- we can't ask for a millage increase, we can't do that. So we have to look for foundation grants and governmental grants."

The board was scheduled to meet on Thursday where they could have approved the budget but that's been moved to next week because board members want more time to get employee concessions.

"There's a willingness from every employee group to work, to help everybody out so we're hoping for a good result," said Lopez.

Now that the state budget has passed, the district knows what to expect; but, board members say that doesn't make their job any easier, especially going forward.

"Our budget this year is hard but we foresee that it's going to be harder next year."

While they want to lay framework for the future to make years to come a bit easier, they have no choice but to deal with the reality here and now.

"Whether it's a balanced budget or not, we will have a budget."

The board will be meeting next Wednesday night, one day before the deadline. And, that's cause for concern for the teacher's union president, Patti Siedl who says waiting a week cuts it too close and it's "muddying the [negotiation] waters."

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