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H-PT approves budget

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette From left, Houghton Middle School students Sophia Neves, Danielle Williston, Carter Kilpela and Connor Polkky pull spotted knapweed as part of a class project on May 28. Houghton-Portage Township Schools board approved the budget for the upcoming year Monday, based on a projection of enrollment staying at last year’s level of 1,408.

HOUGHTON — The Houghton-Portage Township Schools will run a small surplus for next year.

The district board approved a general fund budget with $12,879,432 in projected revenues and $12,868,230 in expenses Monday.

The district’s fund balance is projected to be at $1,979,049 next June 30.

Michigan has yet to set the foundation grant amount for K-12 schools; proposals have run for an increase of between $120 and $180 per student. For budgeting purposes, the district used the higher $180 level, which would result in about $230,000 more in state funding, said district Business Manager Sara Marcotte.

Enrollment is assumed to stay at the 2018-19 level of 1,408. The salary budget assumes a 1.5% raise. However, negotiations are ongoing, Marcotte said.

Federal revenues are projected to decline from $135,160 to $110,646. That money is used to pay for a Title I director and paraprofessional.

About $60,000 is budgeted for new textbooks, including $35,000 for a new math curriculum.

All other funds were balanced. In the school service fund, which covers food service and child care, the district had to spend $25,000 more than anticipated on food service last year after the state deemed its fund balance to be too high. The required level of spending is determined based on the district’s income.

“It’s a good problem to have, but we bought a freezer and a milk cooler with that,” Marcotte said.

In the capital projects fund, the district spent $111,000 of the $130,000 budgeted last year. That included $40,000 for improvements to the district bus garage. Revenues and expenses are assumed at $45,000 next year.

The debt retirement fund includes borrowing a projected $814,8400 for payments on debt service, down from $893,022 last year. That’s routinely done during times when debt millage doesn’t generate enough for the payments, Marcotte said. It’s then repaid later when the debt millage yields that amount.

“At one point, our balance was $9 million that we owed them, and we paid them back,” Marcotte said.

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