Harbor Springs school board discusses deficit
The Harbor Springs school board discussed the 2011/2012 general fund operating budget during its Monday night meeting
The agenda at Harbor Springs Public Schools' Monday school board meeting was a long one, and it included the resignation of the high school football coach Del Walden, the announcement of an elementary principal search and the amendment of the 2011-2012 general fund operating budget.
Last June, a general fund operating budget was adopted for approximately 13.4 million dollars. After expenditures such as payroll for staff, basic programming and expenses per student, the school district would have ended its fiscal year on June 30 with a deficit of $1,187,319.
Chief financial officer Pam Gibson proposed an amended budget with a projected deficit of $1,062,740.
"We have to adopt a budget by July 1 about what to do for next year," said Gibson. "We'll always have changes that come with local tax dollars."
In order to cut budget costs, the board approved several motions.
First, superintendent Mark Tompkins suggested the board run an election to renew the 13.9911 mills operating millage, which funds the general fund, every three years in November. Renewing the millage every year costs the district money, said Gibson.
Because some maintenance projects have been completed, the board approved a reduction in the building and site fund from 0.66 mills to 0.54 mills. That millage, if approved, will hold at the same rate for five years, like the 0.66 millage.
"We took a look at what we have out there (in the district) that we want to do, and base the millage on how much money we need to finish those projects," said Gibson.
Over the next five years, that building and site fund millage would pay for such repairs as new carpeting at Blackbird Elementary, various proposed parking lots, renovations of locker rooms and roof repairs.
In order to shave $8,000 off of the budget's deficit, the board also moved to change its service agreement with Johnson Controls, a company that services its heating system, from a cost of $18,000 per year to $10,000 per year.
Finally, the food service budget, which is separate from the general operating budget, is approximately $40,000 in the hole.
In order to save approximately $17,000 annually from that budget, the board voted to share food service manager John Ruemenapp's time between Harbor Springs and Inland Lakes Public Schools.
"This would also allow John to focus on increasing food revenue and curtailing the costs of food service," said Gibson, who said that previously, Ruemenapp was not only managing oversight, but running the cash register and doing food prep work as well.
These items were also discussed at the meeting:
-- John Dancer with Cornerstone Architects in Traverse City presented the board with information showing that renovating the superficial aspects of the high school locker rooms -- updating windows, doors, paint, tiling and performing maintenance -- would cost $270,000 compared to the $580,000 it would cost to change the locker rooms structurally.
-- Beginning today, Tuesday, the high school will begin its search to replace its former football head coach, Del Walden.
-- Tompkins updated the board on Harbor Springs Public Schools' anti-bullying policy.
-- The board hired long-term sub Tanya Firestone in place of English teacher Chad Broughman, who will take a paternity leave.
-- The school board will begin its elementary principal interviewing process.
-- The board approved of the hiring of spring coaches and associated overnight trips for spring sports teams.
-- It also approved an overnight trip for the band to Detroit.