Swartz Creek schools personnel agree to concessions as district officials await word on cuts in state funding

SWARTZ CREEK — Facing an as-yet undetermined loss in state revenue sharing, Swartz Creek Community Schools staff have agreed to certain concessions that are expected to save the district in excess of $1 million this fiscal year.

The concessions affect all administrators, principals, teachers and other personnel.

Most concession agreements include “triggers” which are “predicated on cuts from the state,” said Superintendent Ben Mainka.

“If there are no cuts, (the concessions) will not commence for certain groups,” he said.

Mainka estimated the savings at “just under $1.1 million between employee groups, myself and other administrators.”

“The vast majority comes from the largest group, the teachers,” he said.

In addition, individual school board members have said they will donate all or some of their $1,500 annual stipend back to school programs of their choosing.

The concessions come as districts throughout the country are looking at the economic impact of the COVID-19 safety regulations which have affected commerce and, as a result, reduced collectible tax dollars.

Mainka has said the Swartz Creek schools have a healthy fund balance and will likely be able to pull about $1.3 million from the 2019-20 budget into the 2020-21 budget due to cuts in spending facilitated by the early closure of schools last spring. The closures put a halt to supply purchases, and reduced fuel and operational costs.

Any cuts in state funding will come in the Foundation Allowance. For 2019- 20, the Swartz Creek schools received $8,111 per student.

The 2020-21 number is as yet undetermined, but early projections pointed to cuts of $300 to $900, which translate to potential losses of between $1.4 million and $4 million.

The last time school districts faced such drastic losses was in 2009 when the allowance was cut by $470 per student on the heels of the 2008 recession.