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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Lansing schools adopt 2012-2013 budget

Little will be left in the coffers for down the road

by Sam Inglot
Friday, June 22 — The Lansing School District nearly sapped its savings to pay for next year’s budget because of increased costs, a declining student population and stagnant funding from the state.

The school board approved next year’s $168.5 million budget Thursday by a 6-1 vote. The approved budget uses nearly $9.5 million of the district’s $10 million in reserves to balance out. Board member Shirley Rodgers was the lone no-vote; Guillermo Lopez and Charles Ford were absent.

State funding has been “flat” in the past four years, said Sam Sinicropi, executive director of administrative services. While the $7,202 per-pupil funding has been stagnant over the years, costs like utilities and retirement have increased, he said. '

Continuing enrollment decline hasn’t helped either. More than 4,000 students have left the district over the past 10 years, Sinicropi said during Thursday’s budget presentation. The 2012-2013 budget estimates the district’s overall student count will decrease by 215, equating to a $1.5 million hit to the budget.

The district has to use $2.5 million it expected to save through closing four buildings to pay for state-mandated, all-day kindergarten. The district has been using federal “Title I” money to supplement all-day kindergarten for a decade, Sinicropi said. That federal money cannot be used for state-mandated programs, so the district will have to forgo the restructuring savings and spend the federal dollars elsewhere.

The board and administration plan to start looking at the 2013-2014 budget in July. They expect cuts, but they are not sure where or to what extent at this point.'
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