Funding programs continues to be a budget challenge for our area schools


TRI-CITY AREA — Handling multi-million dollar budgets can be a juggling act for school boards across the State of Michigan and those in the Tri-City area are no exception.

School districts are required by the State to have a proposed budget approved by the end of June.

If fund balances get to the 5% mark, or lower, the State will step in and make adjustments, mainly cuts in programs and staffing, to balance a budget.

Capac Superintendent Jeff Terpenning has taken on the role of Athletic Director, and taken a paycut, to help the district balance their 2023-2024 budget.

Earlier this summer, Capac school board members had to sharpen their pencils and make cuts to help get to a balanced budget before the July 1 deadline.

Two Capac administrators, including the Athletic Director, left the district and were not replaced for the new school year.

Instead, Superintendent Jeff Terpenning, who also took a pay cut in his salary as the district’s top administrator, took on the role of Athletic Director as well, at no extra cost. It was not clear if some of the duties of the A.D. would be shared by Capac staff.

“We have had some people leave the district and we have not replaced them, to help save money” explained Terpenning.

Capac’s total available fund to appropriate revenue comes to $11,426,270 which includes nearly $1.75 million in unappropriated fund balance.

Expenditures that are appropriated comes in at $10,870,381 and leaves Capac with an approximate fund balance of $550,000.

Meanwhile in Dryden, Superintendent Mary Flanigan reports the district will have total revenues of just over $6.8 million with another $1.6 in estimated fund balance as of July 1, leaving the district with total revenue of a bit more than $8.4 million.

Total appropriated expenditures are expected to run in the neighborhood of $7.1 million, leaving the district with $1.22 million, or 17%, of unassigned fund balance.

In Almont, school board officials have worked with employees to develop a balanced budget before the State imposed deadline.

Almont expects to have more than $18.9 million available to be appropriated, including an unaudited fund balance of $1.66 million.

Among the expenditures for Almont is just over $1 million for the district’s transportation department.

Imlay City officials adopted their budget on June 26, showing total revenue of over $24.7 million.

The Board decided to use $1.1 million from the fund balance to help balance the budget for the new school year. Superintendent Stu Cameron said the district should have a fund balance of 12.6% overall.