By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the district’s $201 million budget at its June 27 meeting.
This year’s budget has a $13 million increase from the $188 million budget in 2015-16.
Multiple changes included in the budget are pupil counts, state aid, contractual commitments, healthcare, programs and 45 retirements.
Increases in cost from 2015-16 to 2016-17 are $2.3 million for benefits, $709,000 for supplies, $568,232 for transfer out and $13,789 for contract services.
Salaries will increase $153,270 and retirement and health care costs will also go up $630,798 from 2015-16 to 2016-17.
Lastly, another $68,232 increase is expected from 2015-16 to 2016-17 for the district’s dual enrollment participation.
Under the conference committee state aid plan Dearborn will see a $60 per pupil increase, the lowest available increase because they are a hold-harmless district. Hold-harmless districts are allowed to tax local property owners with mills to prevent significant cutbacks within.
In 2014, voters renewed an 18-mill tax on business and commercial properties and 6.17 mills for homeowners by a 15,066-to-7,465 vote.
In 2016-17, DPS expects to see a 256-student increase from 19,822 to 20,078 creating $2 million in new revenue.
“Fortunately we’re in a good position,” DPS Director of Business Services Thomas Wall said. “We’re increasing and most are not.”
The district’s general fund balance will increase from $12.8 million to $12.9 million with the surplus over $624,000 in 2015-16 and $408,000 expected surplus in 2016-17.
Money in the fund balance is a result of the money made or revenue over money spent or expenditures.
Trustee Mary Petlichkoff said the board hopes to continue growing its current fund balance from 6 percent to about 10 percent of the total budget to stop borrowing completely.
“We’re borrowing less money each year to pay salaries over the summer months,” she said. “Increasing the fund balance allows us to pay for our own needs.”
For this summer the district will borrow $14 million to cover those summer salaries because the state stops distributing school funding.
“It’s looking a lot better then it has in past years,” Petlichkoff said about the budget. “We’re not talking about the same kind of cuts that we’ve had in the past.”
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)