District ‘cautiously optimistic’ about budget

By J. PATRICK PEPPER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Trustees on June 30 passed a budget that included $169 million in general fund expenditures and assumed a $100-per-pupil cut in state aid payments. The budget went into effect July 1.

Of the general fund, that supports school operations, $98.5 million was tabbed for salaries and wages, $43.6 million for employee benefits and the remaining $22 million going toward capital, debt retirement, fund balance and other expenses.

Other allocations included to the Funded Program Fund, at $24 million; the Center Program Fund, at $9 million; the Debt Retirement Fund, at $21.5 million; the Food Service Fund, at $6.8 million; and the Adult Education School Service Fund, at $2 million.

All in all, the budget process was much less painful than the wrenching midyear cuts the district had to endure in the current budget year, DPS spokesman David Mustonen said.

“We went through some real difficult times in January and February,” he said last week. “And we’re just looking forward to a new year and hopefully not having to deal with those reductions again from the state.”

On Thursday, the district got some encouraging news from Lansing. Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed into law a bill that prevents further cuts from the $165-per-pupil levels in the current state budget. The law will give districts an additional $11 per pupil for the current budget year and into the next fiscal year, which begins for the state on Oct. 1.

However, all of that depends on tax revenues, which if last year is any indicator, could decline beyond fiscal analysts’ projections.

“I feel like I use this phrase every time when I’m talking about the budget, but (the district) is cautiously optimistic” that cuts from the state won’t be coming later this year, Mustonen said.

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