Houghton-Portage Township school board approves contract, OKs budget

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Sara Marcotte, business manager for Houghton-Portage Township Schools, speaks during a public hearing on the district budget. The board approved the new budget and 2021-22 budget revisions Monday.

HOUGHTON — Houghton-Portage Township Schools approved its 2022-23 budget and budget revisions for the past year at its meeting Monday.

General fund revenues are expected to increase 2.3% over the revised 2021-22 numbers to $15.11 million, while expenditures will decline 3.2% to $14.7 million.

The district is budgeting for an increase of $435 per student in state aid, said business manager Sara Marcotte. Student count is anticipated to hold steady at the year-end total of 1,419.

New hires this year will include an early literacy teacher in the elementary school and a middle school math teacher.

The fund balance is projected to increase $418,007 to $3.12 million. That will bring the general fund balance just above where it was in 2020. Last year’s projected general fund deficit of $458,298 was revised to $417,775 in the updated 2021 budget. Marcotte said that stemmed from COVID money the district had received the prior year with a two-year spending window. Over the past year, the district used the money on expenditures such as virtual learning platforms, credit recovery expenses and custodial costs.

Last year also saw the district get $580 more per student in state aid, more than the $100-per-student increase for which the district had budgeted.

The district budgeted for 1,380 students; the eventual count showed 1,404.

Instructional expenditures rose by more than $1.1 million in the revised 2021-22 budget to $9.42 million. That included a new elementary school teacher, the purchase of a new reading series in the elementary school, middle school social studies textbooks and a driver’s ed program and vehicle.

In the school service fund, revenues from state and federal sources both increased in the revised 2021-22 budget. The state provided $53,000 for student breakfast, while the after-school program successfully applied for a federal grant for $113,000. Expenses also went up: one of the after-school grant requirements included giving employees a $500 bonus, while food service expenditures included a new vehicle and new cafeteria tables. Next year’s budget will be balanced at $1.36 million.

The board also passed a resolution certifying the millage for the upcoming year. The district will levy 17.2832 operating mills and 9.64 mills for debt retirement.

After going into executive session at the end of the meeting, the board also approved a two-year agreement with the Houghton-Portage Township Schools Education Association. Teachers will receive 3% raises each of the two years, said Superintendent Anders Hill.

“It was a good process,” he said. “It was good to have this settled before summer.”

Board Vice President Rob Fay thanked administration and teachers for reaching an agreement.

The board also approved staff contracts with raises comparable to those in the teacher contracts.

In other action, the board:

• Approved the second reading and adopted Spring 2022 NEOLA policy updates.

• Approved a resolution renewing its Michigan High School Athletic Association membership.

• Approved Dan Pertile as junior varsity football coach.

• Granted tenure to Blair Zenner and Charity Lee.


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