Tecumseh School Board gives thumbs down to proposed budget for LISD
By DEANE ERTS
At the last Tecumseh School Board meeting on Monday, April 30, the trustees heard a report from Stanley Ames, one of the board’s representatives at the Lenawee Intermediate School District (LISD) budgetary meetings. The LISD is required to prepare annual budgets, just as all of the public school districts in the state must, and the budget is considered by the various districts that it oversees for approval or disapproval by each school district.
All Lenawee County school boards are required by law to either give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to the proposed LISD budget before June 1.
Tecumseh Public Schools rejected the LISD budget last year, and Ames told the board that the accounting practices used by the LISD have not developed the clarity that the Tecumseh trustees had requested at that time.
“We have been critical in the past, and frankly, the problem with their fund equity has not improved,” Ames told his fellow board members. “They say they want a large fund balance for lean years, but the percentage is far larger than is necessary when all of the districts are struggling economically.”
Of particular interest to the Tecumseh Board is the special education fund equity. Tecumseh trustees have noted in previous Tecumseh Public Schools (TPS) budget reviews that the district absorbs a disproportionate amount of expenses for special education without adequate compensation from the LISD.
“It is my opinion that they engage in creative accounting and we have to ask ourselves, Do we want a resolution to object?” Ames said. “Their accounting practices are complicated and confusing.”
“We voted it down last year,” Board President Ed Tritt said, “and it didn’t do us any good. We’ll discuss it further and vote on it at the next meeting.”
If the board once again rejects the proposed LISD budget, the trustees may submit objections and proposals for improvement, but if the TPS rejection is in the minority of the constituent school districts under the jurisdiction of the LISD, no action is required by the LISD.
The next board meeting is Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in the annex of the administrative services building, 212 N. Ottawa St.