The $19.24 million Early Childhood Center, located behind Troy College and Career High School on Square Lake Road, is currently under construction.

The $19.24 million Early Childhood Center, located behind Troy College and Career High School on Square Lake Road, is currently under construction.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Troy School District budget reflects solid fund balance

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 10, 2018

 The Early Childhood Center is slated to open in August 2019.

The Early Childhood Center is slated to open in August 2019.

Photo by Deb Jacques

TROY — The $153 million budget that the Troy School District Board of Education approved June 19 maintains a 16 percent fund balance and includes a $120 increase in the per-pupil foundation allowance from the state. 

Rick West, Troy School District assistant superintendent of business services, presented the budget to the trustees at the June 19 meeting, following a board workshop June 12. 

The board approved the 2018-19 budget unanimously. 

West said the district estimates an increase of 69 students this fall, bringing the total to 13,150 students. 

“We continue to be in a unique position here in Troy,” West said to the trustees at the June 19 meeting. “We continue to see a growth in enrollment.” 

The per-pupil funding increase will bring the total to $9,195 per student in the Troy School District. 

The projected fund balance at the end of the 2018-19 budget year is listed at $24.24 million, or 15.7 percent. 

The approved budget also reflects a wage increase for teachers of 1.9 percent, for a total of $1.5 million. Last June, the Troy Education Association, the labor group that represents the teachers in the Troy School District, ratified a labor contract. 

Under the terms of the contract, which runs through Jan. 31, 2020, teachers at the higher end of the salary scale will receive no additional step pay raises, and teachers at the lower end of the pay scale will receive three step wage increases. 

District officials said the step increases would cost the district between $3.8 million and $4 million over 2 1/2 years from the ratification of the contract. 

The approved budget also includes $19.24 million for the Troy School District Early Childhood Center, which West said is set to open in late August 2019. 

“We are very excited about that,” West said. 

The cost will be offset by revenues from the land sales of Section 11, Section 16 and the front portion of Section 1 — the front part of a nature preserve — and $7.1 million in bonds, West said. 

Parcel 16 is on the west side of Livernois Road, behind the Troy School District school bus lot, directly across from the Troy School District administration campus; Section 11 is located near John R and Long Lake roads. The nature preserve is located off of Square Lake Road, east of John R road. 

Once operating, the Early Childhood Center will be self-sustaining as a result of the adult and community education programs, West added. 

There was no public comment or questions following West’s presentation. 

“The numbers are so clear, there’s no controversy at all,” said Karl Schmidt, president of the Troy School District Board of Education. 

“The Troy School District enters our 2018-19 school year with a tight budget but solid fund balance, thanks in large part to the outstanding support local voters continue to provide,” Schmidt said via email. “Troy residents’ support through local fund initiatives such as our 2013 bond approval, 2016 operating millage renewal and the 2017 sinking fund approval have been essential in our ability to continue to provide an excellent educational experience for our kids. … Our state funding increase this year of $120 per pupil definitely helps as well, although increases in our basic operating expenses continue to outstrip state funding. We’re being as efficient as we can, but two recent state-sponsored K-12 educational funding studies both indicate that this year’s state funding increase is only about 10 percent of the increase the state Legislature should have provided to adequately fund our kids’ education. That makes us especially appreciative of the consistent local support we receive because it provides at least a partial offset for this consistent underfunding at the state level.” 

He praised the board’s decision to sell parcels of district land that were unneeded and to invest the proceeds into the new Early Childhood Center facility. 

“That decision allowed us to construct a $23 million center with less than an $8 million mortgage,” he said.  “As a result of this lower mortgage, the facility will now be self-supporting through tuition fees and educational grants.  Operationally, the new facility will free up much-needed space in multiple elementary buildings currently used by preschoolers — but most importantly, the additional preschool classroom capacity will allow us to dramatically reduce the number of kindergarten students who enter our district with literacy deficits.”