The St. Louis Board of Education voted 4-0 Monday to approve an amended 2017-18 budget that increases expenses more than revenue and leaves the district with a $400,000 deficit that will necessitate dipping into the district’s savings account.
The amended budget shows an increase in revenue from $9.9 million to $10.2 million. However, expenses also increased; from $10.1 million to $10.6 million, leaving the district roughly $400,000 in the hole.
The district’s fund balance, which is analogous to a personal savings account, falls from $1.46 million to $1.06 million with the amendments.
“The budget is not hurting,” said district Superintendent Kristi Teall in an email. “We are remaining above 10 percent fund balance, which is what the board has set for a threshold. Our expenditures did increase due to negotiated raises for all of our bargaining groups. When the original budget was put together, it did not include any increases.”
Stacey Haag of the Gratiot Isabella Intermediate School District, who worked on the budget adjustment, said in an email: “The district is not necessarily hurting as we still have a fund balance and plan to maintain a fund balance that was determined to be acceptable by the board of education. But yes, we have more expenses this year than revenue. We knew that when we budgeted so it is not a surprise.”
Additional revenue of $312,000 came from state government and $50,000 from federal government.
Increased expenses in the amended budget include $183,000 for wage increases, $97,000 for at-risk students, $91,000 for a new school bus, $37,000 for maintenance and operations, $30,000 for the principal’s office and $20,000 for legal fees.
The board voted 4-0 to extend Superintendent Teall’s contract for one year. She is now under contract through 2021. Her annual compensation is $180,000. “We’re happy to have Mrs. Teall,” said Board President Jeff Baxter. Turning to her, he added, “You’re doing a fine job.”
Additions and subtractions
The board accepted resignations from Carrie Knauss Early Childhood Learning Center paraprofessional Andrea Baxter and high school/middle school teacher Cheryl Irvin. Both have found other jobs elsewhere.
The board approved the hiring of Camela Greening to be a paraprofessional at Nikkari Elementary and David Hamp as a middle school paraprofessional.
Dave Fox was hired as a bus driver.
The board also accepted the retirement of custodian Ted Doll, who has cleaned St. Louis Schools since 1980. “He’s been an institution here,” said Board President Jeff Baxter. “Ted started working at the high school when I was a freshman there. Ted will me missed by students, faculty and alumni. He was a true asset to our district.”
Teall announced the imminent formation of an after-school woodworking program designed to help at-risk students. Paraprofessional Phil Maxwell conducted an informal poll of at-risk students to gauge interest and heard enough positive comments to recommend green-lighting the program, Teall said. Materials are already being purchased, and the program is scheduled to begin on March 5. “We’re trying to instill hope with these kids,” Teall said.
Adam Lahorne, Lillian Windsor and Jayce Kuehnlein received academic scholarships to Alma College.
Travis Courter received an athletic scholarship to play football at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Mick Munderloh received an athletic scholarship to play football at Michigan Tech.
Brittney Roberson received an athletic scholarship to run cross country at Mid Michigan Community College.
Jeff Baxter, Don Kelley, Greg Walterhouse and Carrie Beebow attended the meeting. Carrie Salladay, John Pavlik and Kelly Bebow did not.