Staff among $2.5m in cuts proposed for C-A schools

FLINT TWP. — Staff reductions are among cost-cutting measures taken by the Carman-Ainsworth Board of Educations in its proposed 2011-12 budget presented at a public hearing Tuesday night.

The bottom line is the district has to fill a gap between revenues and expenses of nearly $4 million, said Superintendent William Haley.

“We’re proposing roughly $2.5 million in reductions and $1.5 million from savings (to balance the budget),” he said.

Several undecided factors could change those figures for better or worse including unsettled contracts with transportation and support staff he said he hopes to have settled by July 1. Other unknowns include potential retirements and possible increases in state funding that could change by the time the budget is presented to the board for adoption at its June 21 meeting.

Staff reductions included two elementary school assistant principals and an information systems person who is retiring, Haley said. The latter will be replaced with a part-time position.

Also the budget is based on expectation of 19 teacher retirements, said Russ Parks, assistant superintendent for operations, who conducted the budget presentation.

Of 22 teachers notified of potential layoffs in April, all but four have been reinstated, said Steve Tunnicliff, assistant superintendent for instruction. Three elementary school teachers and one full-time high school teacher remain on potential layoff list and two high school teachers are on partial schedules next year. More retirements in coming weeks restore staffing levels to full strength, he said.

Parks outlined a budget in which declining property taxes, cuts in state funding and enrollment decreases account for revenue losses while expenses such as health care, retirement funding and salaries are increasing.

Assumptions in the proposed budget include an estimated blended enrollment of 4,485 students (about 100 less than this year).

State-aid accounts for 60 percent of an anticipated $49.2 million in general fund revenues which is projected to be down nearly $2 million from this year, Parks said.

Salaries are the biggest line item — 56 percent of about $51.4 million in general fund expenditures.

Athletics is budgeted next year at the same level as this year with projected expenses of $741,000, partially paid for with a $585,000 transfer from the general fund.

The food service budget includes a federally mandated increase in school lunch prices.

Other cuts in the proposed budget beside staff reductions included program changes smaller building and transportation allocations and savings on equipment leases and rentals.

There was no public comment at the hearing.

Trustee Recco Richardson commented that in the three years he has served on the board, funding deficits have been made up from savings.

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