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Local district faces $800K deficit

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:45 PM

The district is projected to have a nearly $800,000 deficit for the 2014-15 school year.

Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said the district has experienced a deficit for the past five years, and their goal is to have a balanced budget by June 2015.

The board recently approved a budget of about $28.5 million in revenue and $29.3 million in expenses. Szymoniak said the district is looking at a combination of continued cost-saving measures and concessions during contract negotiations.

The district’s current fund balance sits at about 7 percent, or about $2.2 million. Szymoniak said the district chooses not to reduce its fund balance any lower as state lawmakers are considering measures that would put concessions on districts dropping below a certain threshold. One concession could mean districts would have to increase reporting to the state’s Department of Treasury.

“We can’t decrease that fund balance any more,” the superintendent said.

The district is in negotiations with bargaining units including administrators, teachers, clerical staff, instructional assistants, food service and transportation staff, and a group not represented by a union.

Gov. Rick Snyder recently approved a $15.8 billion educational budget that boosted funding for Michigan’s public schools. Szymoniak said although the per-pupil funding increased, other funding items received cuts.

Recently, Grand Haven and Spring Lake school boards approved balanced budgets for the 2014-15 school year after deficit spending in previous years.

Szymoniak said they hope this is the lowest they will go and they plan to make a comeback in future years.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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