Grand Haven Tribune: SLPS projects budget deficit

The Spring Lake Public Schools Board of Education approved a budget with a $259,400 deficit, which would bring the district’s General Fund balance to 8.1 percent, or a little more than $2 million, at the end of the school year.

Scott Powers, the district’s chief financial officer, said that if the fund balance drops much lower, SLPS may have to borrow money until the state pays them.

The approved 2017-18 budget accounts for a blended count of 2,495 students, which is 10 fewer than the current school year.

The district expects to receive a $120 per-pupil funding increase from the state, which would generate an additional $275,000.

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The budget accounts for wage hikes for teachers and support staff, and a 2 percent increase for non-union staff. It also takes into account attrition, retirements and staffing position changes.

The district will contribute to the state retirement fund, which is required, and it continues to have a hard cap on insurance costs.

Also on Monday, the school board approved a final amendment for the 2016-17 school year that includes a $38,000 deficit. The district’s General Fund balance is at 9.2 percent, or about $2.3 million.

In February, the district expected a $205,000 deficit, but a mild winter, an increase in student enrollment and changes to special-education funding lessened the deficit, Powers said.

Superintendent Dennis Furton said he’s disappointed that state aid doesn’t keep up with inflation. He said that year after year, students and staff feel the pinch of minimal or no increase at all, but staff members work to provide a quality education for Spring Lake students.

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