Center LineJuly 20, 2012
Center Line school board approves preliminary budget
By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer
CENTER LINE/WARREN — In recent weeks, 25 Center Line Public Schools teachers were laid off as school officials worked to balance the preliminary budget for the 2012-13 school year.
At a school board meeting June 18, the school board voted 7-0 to approve the preliminary budget for the next school year.
Since that time, a percentage of the teachers were called back to work, and district officials predict more laid-off educators will return to the classroom. District Director of Business Services Cindy Schwark said the layoffs were “based on seniority.”
“If enrollment goes up, there will be more that are called back,” Schwark said.
According to the preliminary budget, revenues — including local, state and federal dollars — for next year were projected at $29.3 million. Expenditures — retirements, benefits, utility costs, staff increases, and supply and purchase services — were predicted at $31.8 million.
This leaves the district with a $2.5 million shortfall. School officials will dip into the district’s fund balance account to make up the shortfall. The fund balance acts like a savings account and is used in emergency situations.
By law, school districts have to vote on their school budgets by June 30. The fiscal year runs July 1 through June 30.
Center Line officials anticipate the district will receive $9,353 in per pupil funding next year. Enrollment for the 2012-13 school year is predicted at 2,648 students.
“When we put together the preliminary budget it’s based on assumptions,” Superintendent Eve Kaltz said. “We looked at a variety of factors to be responsible.”
The enrollment numbers could change before school begins in September.
Kaltz said school officials have worked to cut costs in the last few years. While some districts were forced to cut programs for next year, all CLPS programs will remain for next year, school officials said.
Toward the end of the last school year, Center Line officials eliminated the art programs at Wolfe Middle School for next year. That decision has been rescinded, and some of the eliminated art classes have been reinstated, Kaltz and Schwark said.
Center Line is not alone with its financial woes. School districts receive money from Lansing, and because of Michigan’s economic downturn, there is less and less money in the state aid fund for public education.
During the upcoming school year, Center Line staff also will continue to look for grant money.
“We will continue to apply for any grants that would support any of our programs,” Kaltz said.
And like last year, CLPS employees across the board will pay $1,000 toward their health care plans. The district will pay the remaining costs. Districts statewide also are looking at higher retirements costs for employees.
“The retirement rates went from 24.4 percent this year to 27.3 percent last year,” Schwark said. “The state controls the retirement rate. The state adjusts that rate every year.”
Although the state’s financial picture continues to leave a dark cloud over public education, Center Line school officials are pumped about the new firefighting course that begins this fall at Center Line High School. At a school board meeting Feb. 27, 2012, the board voted 7-0 to approve the class. The course is a one-year program.
The new course will cover a number of skills, including building search and victim removal; water supply techniques; laying, carrying and advancing hose; fire cause and origin; and hazardous materials operations.
Students will learn how to properly use a breathing apparatus, portable fire extinguishers, rescue and extrication tools, ropes, ground ladders, pre-incidents surveys and much more. Detailing fire incident reports also will be covered. Students must have a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average to enroll and be at least 16 years old.
Enrollment will first open up to students in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, which encompasses CLHS, Lincoln High School, Fitzgerald High School and Warren Woods Tower High School. School officials also will welcome students from other Macomb County districts.
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