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H-PT preparing for funding cuts

HOUGHTON — Though no figures are available, Houghton-Portage Township Schools  Board of Education is bracing for potential cuts in funding from the state. 

Early word is that the state’s school aid fund could be facing a $1.25 billion deficit, growing to $1.4 billion in 2020-21, Superintendent Doreen Kramer said. 

“We’re getting numbers like we might get 25% of our per-pupil funding cut,” about $2,000 per student, Kramer said.

The district will hold a hearing on its proposed budget at 5:45 p.m. June 8, prior to its regular board meeting. 

“We’re going to have a projected budget, but we’re expecting to make some amendments as we hear more throughout the summer,” Kramer said. 

In the meantime, the district will be looking for places to cut, possibly including activities, supplies and staffing. The district has not had to make cuts to the number of full-time employees since the 2009-10 recession, Kramer said. 

“They’re telling us this could be the situation for up to three years,” she said. “We’re going to have to prepare for these changes.”

Face-to-face learning will hopefully resume in the fall, but the district also has to be prepared for online classes, Kramer said. 

General projects such as replacing carpeting will be postponed, Kramer said, though critical maintenance needs will still be addressed.

In better news, the district learned Wednesday the U.S. Department of Agriculture has extended curbside free and reduced-price meal pickups through the summer.

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