C-A adopts “disappointing” 2014-15 general fund budget

FLINT TWP. — “Disappointing’’ is the best word Carman Ainsworth Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff said he could use publicly to describe the 2014-15 budget picture.

After winning major financial concessions across the board from staff last year to curb expenses, administrators expected finances for the coming fiscal year to show improvement he said.

“All that was done to right the ship and bring us back to a point where, after years of cutting and overspending, we would be able to pass a budget no longer in the red,’’ he said.

Instead the foundation allowance came in $33 per pupil below worst-case budget projections.

The school board postponed its annual budget hearing three times waiting for definite numbers to be finalized including various state-aid formulas under consideration by state legislators.

Instead of a $83 per pupil increase in state and local funding C-A hoped to get, the final allocation came in at only $50. That is $125 per pupil less than baseline schools will be getting under the state-aid formula.

C-A is among schools considered above baseline funding based on a school-aid distribution formula established years ago after the passage of Proposal A, Tunnicliff said.

Based on a projected student enrollment of 5,235, C-A’s estimated foundation allowance for 2014-15 is $7,855 per pupil compared to $7,805 in 2013-14. That brings total adjusted state and local revenues to $40,992 million for next school year.

The 2014-15 budget is based on assumptions that property tax will decline only 1.6 percent; enrollment will decrease by only about 107 students; salaries will remain the same based on a three-year bargaining agreement; FICA remains at 7.65 percent of salary and health and insurance increases of 7.25 percent to 10 percent.

C-A’s school board approved a general fund budget for 2014-15 showing about $51,895 million in revenues and about $52,245 million in expenditures.

The numbers indicate the district managed to slow the bleeding of its fund balance which has been dropping steadily in recent years. A projected 2013-14 fund balance of about $1.5 million came in right on the money. The projected fund balance for the fiscal year ending June 20, 2015 is about $1.2 million.

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