PAINESDALE - The Adams Township School District Board of Education will adopt next year's budget this month, but after deciding how to properly balance the budget.
Superintendent Tim Keteri said the board won't be in deficit spending at the end of the school year but asked the board to weigh all options for fiscal year 2012-13.
"There was no way we could run this district with the cuts absorbed by (the state of Michigan) last year," he said.
Stacey Kukkonen/Daily Mining Gazette
From left, South Range Elementary School Principal Kim Harris, Jeffers High School Assistant Principal Mike Benda and Adams Township School District Superintendent Tim Keteri discuss cost-saving techniques at Thursday’s ATSD?Board of Education meeting.
This year, the school district is getting some relief from the state, however, it doesn't match the $7,000 per-pupil the district was receiving in previous years.
"You hired me to give you a plan to remain solvent," he said.
Keteri, the district's business manager and the finance committee came up with several ideas to save money for the district and presented the proposed budget to the board Thursday evening.
"I present you today, a plan to stay out of debt," Keteri said. "It's not going to be easy. There are difficult decisions."
Because a budget is fluid, Keteri said there needs to be a reserve in the budget as a cushion for unforeseen costs.
"Right now, we have nothing," he said.
Keteri asked the board to look into athletic avenues and staffing, among other costs at the district. One idea is to freeze field trips at the district for one year. Another idea is to adjust busing to sporting events for athletes, whether it be to provide busing only to games or not offer district transportation whatsoever.
"Every dollar needs to be looked at and analyzed," said board member Steve Nicholas. "Is that a dollar we need to spend? Some of the ideas Tim came up with and I came up with are small but they add up."
Transportation to games would only stop for local sporting events as far as Calumet for varsity sports. Transportation would be provided for non-local games.
"The savings is the time the person is sitting (waiting to take kids back)," Keteri said.
Board member Gina Goudge said she is in favor of taking students to games but said so many kids ride home from games with parents.
"That should have been changed a long time ago," she said.
Next year, Kim Harris, principal at South Range Elementary School, said only a few students will need special education services. Currently, a full-time person is in place to work with the students for about a half hour each every day.
Another idea brought forth by the committee was to make the swim team dormant for one year as there are only a handful of students on the swim team and the swim team at the district costs money to pay a coach salary with benefits, heat the pool and provide transportation.
"Our proposal is going to be to change the swim team to a swim club for one year and eliminate our swim team for one year," Nicholas said.
Several members of the swim team graduated last year and only two students from Jeffers High School have shown interest in the team for next year. One of those students is deciding between basketball and swimming. The pool would still be filled and treated but wouldn't be heated most of the time.
The board was split on axing the swim team for one year. Goudge suggested treating it as a rebuilding year while taking the time to build interest among students but member Chad Snell said he felt if the team was dormant for one year, it would never return.
"(We) would help build the program so it comes back much stronger the year after," Nicholas said. "We can try to get kids involved and see if we can get more than two kids on the swim team. We'd have a year to build that up."
The board asked Keteri to look into cost savings for many of the ideas presented Thursday. The board will meet Tuesday and vote on a budget.