Carman-Ainsworth Board approves 2016-17 budget

FLINT TWP. — Well, the good news is that according to county projections, property taxes (revenue) are expected to rise next year, said Russ Parks, assistant superintendent in the annual proposed budget presentation to the Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education.

The not so good news is that district expects to spend slightly more than it takes in next school year. Projected expenditures of $53,458,379 will exceed anticipated revenues of $53,414,237- a difference of about $44,142. The fund balance as of July 1 is $1,716,098.

Property taxes account for 11 percent of 2016-17 revenues; while the bulk of it – 62 percent comes from state aid and the rest from restricted state and federal and other sources and other sources generally.

State aid is based on the student count which is projected to dip very slightly next school year by approximately 7 students.

Parks said that the proposed budget include several assumptions, including:

*A 1.1 percent increase in the (state) foundation allowances of $93 from $7,965 to $8,058 per pupil

*A blended enrollment count for the 2016-17 school year of 5,073 students – a loss of 7 students

*Salaries will remain the same as in 2015-16

*Retirement expenses will increase from 36.53 percent of salaries to 37.70 (a 3.2 percent increase)

* MESSA Health, dental, vision and life insurance rates increases averaging 9.12 percent (including Affordable Care Act costs).

*Property tax values decreased by 2.28 percent mainly due to a decrease in property taxes.

Regarding enrollment, one plus is that a small senior class left but a 70 student increase is projected for Kindergarten enrollment. Also C-A had a record level of requests for Schools of Choice openings, Parks said.

Half of C-A’s expenditures – $26,471,019 – goes for instruction including salaries. C-A ranks high in the state for the percentage of budget spent on instruction. For the past ten years or so, CA ranked I the top ten or 15 percent of school districts spending most of its budget in the classroom Parks said.

Food Service revenues are projected at $2,842,050 next year up from $2,818,850 and expenditures projected at $2,840,362 down from $2,885,236 in 2015-16, the fund balance is about $1 million.

The state of Michigan has been pressing all districts to start a free lunch for all students but that could end up costing C-A money due to a resulting decline in at-risk funding, Parks said, noting that the district has considered it but cannot be forced to do it.

Parks also discussed the debt retirement budget which stands at about $1,199,308 million as of July 1, A notable plus in that category is that many small businesses opened and prospered in the C-A district, he said.

“We had a $68,000 (revenue) increase from those small taxpayers,” Parks noted. That category rose from $41,403 in revenue in 2015-16 to a projected $109,509 projected for $2016-17.

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