EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — School boards across Michigan are making plans to reduce spending in view of potential per-pupil funding reductions next year, according to media reports. Some districts have pink-slipped staff or eliminated positions, while others are reducing extracurricular programs or spending reserve funds.

The state Senate approved a budget Wednesday that would include a $340 per-pupil reduction, according to the Michigan Information & Research Service Inc. Overall, that amounts to an approximately 4 percent cut in the school aid budget, according to Rep. Howard Walker, R-Traverse City, MIRS reported.

The per-pupil reduction includes a new $170 per-pupil reduction, less than the $300 per-pupil that Gov. Rick Snyder recommended, and leaves intact a $170 per-pupil reduction made a year ago. Last year school districts received federal “edujobs” funds to make up for the cut, but those were one-time-only funds.

Earlier this week, East Grand Rapids Public Schools trustees discussed making $785,000 in spending reductions and using reserve funds to cover a projected $2 million budget gap in 2011-2012, according to The Grand Rapids Press. The proposed reductions include staff cuts as well as imposing a 20 percent health contribution for administrative staff as of July 1, the report said.

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed a $300 million incentive program for districts that increase employee health care contributions to 20 percent.

Hamilton Community Schools in Allegan County issued layoff notices to 18 teachers, which would resolve $1 million of a “worst-case scenario” $4 million budget gap, according to The Press. The Atherton School District in Genessee County eliminated 8.5 teaching positions and issued 24 tentative layoff notices, according to The Flint Journal. Some positions will be reduced to part-time, the report said.

SOURCES:
The Grand Rapids Press, “East Grand Rapids Schools looks at cutting staff, middle school athletics, to balance budget,” April 26, 2011

The Grand Rapids Press, “Hamilton Schools to pink slip 18 teachers as state budget threat mounts,” April 26, 2011

The Flint Journal, “Students, administration, union react to approval of Atherton teacher layoffs,” April 26, 2011

FURTHER READING:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Schools Use Creative Accounting to Exaggerate Fiscal Challenges,” April 12, 2011

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