Budget deficit drops at Baraga Area Schools

Katrice Perkins/Daily Mining Gazette Baraga Area Schools Board President William Jondreau and Superintendent Richard Sarau take notes during a meeting on Monday.

BARAGA — A budget deficit for the Baraga Area Schools District has decreased from $372,138 to $251,112, Superintendent Richard Sarau announced at a Monday board meeting.

The decrease is due to “a little bit more money from state aid,” said Sarau. He said although it has dropped down it’s “still not good.”

The total revenue increased from $4,353,421 to $4,790,382.

Board President William “Bill” Jondreau brought up the donation received from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) and how the school is dependent on the money. He questioned what they should do with it and prompted what would happen if KBIC decided not to donate the money.

“Legally there’s no requirement (to donate). We’re always counting on it. Should we put it aside? What happens if they don’t pay?” said Jondreau.

Suggestions that were made for the “very generous donation” of $37,857 from KBIC wouldn’t work well due to the deficit. The discussion was tabled for their next budget meeting.

The schools also received other donations from community members.

Principal Timothy Marczak said the schools received an anonymous donation of $500 for school lunches.

He said the donor saw stories about the schools’ high homeless population and decided to donate.

Marczak said the money will be used for “students in need with a negative lunch balance,” and the funds “should last a couple of months.”

He said they have a large number of students who receive free lunches, but even though school records might indicate a child can afford to pay doesn’t mean they can.

Other donations included $417 for classroom chairs, $388 for textbooks and another $400 for books.