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SLPS projects budget deficit for the 2018-19 school year

Krystle Wagner • Jun 19, 2018 at 10:00 AM

For the second year in a row, Spring Lake Public Schools expects to have a budget in the red.

Monday night, the district’s Board of Education approved the 2018-19 school year budget, which involves an almost $45,000 deficit. If projections hold true, the district would end the year with about $2.275 million, or about 8.7 percent, in the general fund, said Scott Powers, the district’s chief financial officer.

Given the district’s overall $26 million budget, Powers said “for all intents and purposes, it’s a balanced budget.”

Since the district is in negotiations with the Spring Lake Education Association, Powers said they developed the budget using “compensation targets.”

Powers noted the district also projects to have a staffing level similar to last year as they fill retirements.

The district will continue the hard cap for employee health insurance costs and contribute to retirement costs, and Powers said they’re also seeing increases in items such as fuel and utility costs.

Student enrollment is expected to have “minimal change,” with six fewer students than last year. Enrollment hovers around 2,500 students, Powers said.

The district expects to see an increase of $240 per pupil in funding.

If Gov. Rick Snyder approves the state’s budget as expected, that would bring Spring Lake’s funding to $7,871 per pupil. Powers said the state is providing more per pupil funding than what they’ve experienced in the past 10 years.

Powers said overall, the district is stable.

Before approving the new school year budget, the Board of Education approved an amendment to the 2017-18 school year budget.

While the district still faced a deficit, Powers said they’ll end the year slightly better than expected. A prior year adjustment from the state in special education funding helped improve the district’s bottom line by about $250,000.

In addition to several smaller factors, Powers said the special education funding was the biggest factor.

Instead of a projected deficit of almost $300,000, the district is slated to see a deficit of almost $55,000. The district is expected to end the 2017-18 school year with $2.3 million, or about 8.8 percent, in the general fund.

While looking ahead to the future, Powers said they’re cautiously looking at the school aid and state’s general fund.

Although they’re doing well, Powers noted that there are a few items that could impact education funding, such as state road funding packages that call for increased spending and tax credits.

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