TPS approves State Aid loan
By DEB WUETHRICH
The Tecumseh School Board approved a resolution Monday night authorizing the district to participate in the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority state aid note loan program for funding a projected shortfall in cash flow for the 2009-2010 budget year. Business and Finance Director, Bill Wright, said the fact that the school district does not receive a state aid payment for the month of September each year and still has to make the payroll and other expenditures puts the district in its weakest position in cash flow during that time.
Last year, the district borrowed $1,800,000 and the year before that, $1,600,000. Given the fact that the district continues to experience declining revenues due to declining student enrollment, Wright noted, the 2009-2010 projected cash flow borrowing requirement would be $2,400,000. Wright said the district would be utilizing a different repayment plan this year, utilizing a “set-aside” program for the loan. He said the plan would lower the cost of borrowing due to the proceeds being fully secured by theMunicipal Bond Authority resulting in lower interest rates.
Wright also outlined the budgeting process, stating that the projected deficit for the 2009-2010 fiscal year is $431,423, and talked again about the challenges being faced by the district. A budget hearing will be held on Monday, June 29, at the Administrative Service Center, beginning at 6:30 p.m. with opportunity for public comment. Wright said that State Aid cuts of $110 per student and a categorical funding loss due to declining enrollment are projected to take $402,191.85 out of the district’s budget.
Some of he 2009-2010 expenditures include: $209,000 for new textbook purchases; $28,000 for an International Baccalaureate program at Tecumseh High School, $33,000 for the purchase of credit recovery software; $31,000 for new library/media books; and setting aside $185,797 for student supplies at $60 per student. Stimulus money through the IDEA program is anticipated to bring in $383,341. What is still unknown is whether further categorical funding cuts may yet come from the state, and fall 2009 enrollment numbers, though the district is currently projecting a total reduction of 100 students for a decrease in revenue of $715,999.
“The last three years that trend has gone downward,” Wright said. “Most are leaving the state and we’ve heard that number to be around 27,000 students.”
Wright said the crisis in school funding has arrived a year earlier than expected. Michigan was allocated $1.3 billion for education funding and has allocated $425 million to balance the state’s 2008-09 budget. Next year the state is expected to utilize the other $700 billion, and no one seems to know what will happen the year after that with financial analysts predicting continued shortfalls.
In other business, the board members:
• Heard a Building and Grounds Committee report that lights at the high school had been worked on, reducing electricity use at Tecumseh High School by converting some lights, for an anticipated annual savings of approximately $40,000. Board member Dan Gunder also reported that enough brick donations have been sold to begin a foundation on the athletic complex concession stand/restroom facility before electrical and plumbing are installed.
• Approved board member Jason Sines as board treasurer to fill a term left vacant when Gary Urban resigned on June 8. New officers are appointed during the board’s first meeting in July.
• Heard a report on class size from Technology Service Manager Todd Thieken, who pointed out that Tecumseh maintains class sizes at an average of 25 students, and that despite the perception that smaller class sizes mean better achievement, district MEAP scores show Tecumseh as No. 1 in Lenawee County for student achievement. He credits much of the success to quality teaching staff.
• Heard a report on the district’s strategic plan, developed in 2005, from Superintendent Mike McAran and Thieken. “Our strategic plan was a vision for our schools in the future and the way Tecumseh would look and there’s been quite a lot of work on it,” said Board President Debbie Johnson-Berges. She said the next step would be to continue to review the plan at an August board retreat.
• Took action to purchase textbooks for the 2009-10 school year at $209,168.99.
• Adopted a Bloodborne pathogen policy.