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May 09, 2007
CAPAC — Proposed budget cuts for the 2007-08 school year, totaling $315,000, have been laid on the table for the school board's review. Supt. Jerry Jennex outlined the measures at a special board meeting Thursday where Rep. Phil Pavlov spoke on the legislature's attempts to stem deep cuts at the state level.

The biggest savings— $175,000—will come from absorbing two of the four teacher positions being vacated by retirement.

"We're going to have to work together to fill the gaps," Jennex said.

"We're going to have wear more hats."

Currently, about $12 million of the district's $15 million budget goes towards personnel costs.

Other proposed personnel savings come from not replacing a terminated custodian ($55,000), replacing a retiring full-time technology support employee with a part-timer ($25,000) and reducing the hours of the technology coordinator ($15,000).

Gladys Burlison, transportation supervisor, and Janet Sonner, superintendent's secretary, have agreed to retire and return as contracted employees, in their same positions, for a savings of $25,000.

Cutting three kindergarten bus runs ($15,000) and moving the Latchkey program out of the portables into the elementary school ($5,000) round out the proposal.

Pavlov, a Republican, spoke about the legislature's attempts to balance the state's budget. Districts like Capac are waiting to hear what per pupil proration to expect so as to adjust next year's budget to absorb this year's cuts.

Pavlov said the worst case scenario is about $35 per student, much less than the $125 figure Gov. Jennifer Granholm told districts to expect. He expects that some of the $60 million shortfall in the education budget can be covered by borrowing funds from the state's general fund.

"A third of our budget goes to K-12 education," Pavlov said.

"There isn't anything we spend more money on."

The state gives more than $7,000 a student to schools currently. Capac plans to dip into their $2.3 million fund balance to make up any of their own shortfalls.

Pavlov said he hopes the government, after balancing the budget, will take a hard look at reforming education spending.

"We need to get our spending in check," he said.

School board members and some visitors questioned the representative as to why the state didn't do more to prevent such large shortfalls.

"As the dominoes tip over they tip awful fast," he said, referring to lost revenues due to the downturn of the automotive industry.

Teachers, library staff and other employees pleaded with the board to spare their jobs. They heard those pleas, but, every member warned, cuts would be 'across the board.'

"We've had good times, but we can't keep riding the gravy train," Vice President Jim Crane said.

Jennex said the district expects they'll have to make a total of $400,000-600,000 in cuts for the 2007-08 school year.

The board will pick up the budget discussions again at their regular meeting on May 17.

Assistant Editor
Castle Creek
Milnes Ford
05 - 22 - 19
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