MAPS board of education approves budgets

MANISTEE — The Manistee Area Public Schools Board of Education heard good news from business manager Howard Vaas on Wednesday evening concerning the closing and opening budgets for the district.

Manistee Area Public Schools business manager Howard Vaas gives the board of education a breakdown on the 2018-19 budget on Wednesday evening.

Manistee Area Public Schools business manager Howard Vaas gives the board of education a breakdown on the 2018-19 budget on Wednesday evening.

Vaas said the MAPS district is closing out its 2017-18 budget with a $208,130 surplus. He gave the board some details on how that came about. Total revenues came in at $15,424,697 and expenditures were $15,216,567. It also left the district with an ending fund balance of $2,226,442, which is larger than it has been in some time.

“There was some movement with the revenue categories,” said Vaas. “Local revenues will be lower than our opening budget largely due to the retention of Power Learning devices originally slated for sale this month. This decrease is more than offset by savings from the reduced purchase of replacement equipment.”

Vaas said the Payment in Lieu of Taxes that the MAPS district receives from the Little River Casino Resort, because it is a Class III gaming facility and does not pay taxes, was reduced by $48,000 to $765,000.

“However, our federal revenues came in higher than budgeted, which helped offset those decreases,” said Vaas.

MAPS also serves as the charter agent for the Michigan Great Lakes Virtual Academy (MGLVA) and that allows them to take 3 percent of the online academy’s state per pupil funding for handling that duty.

“The final proposed revenue adjustment is due to revenue from MGLVA  which is anticipated to increase to $685,000 this year,” said Vaas.

When it came to the 2017-18 expenditures, several items came in lower than anticipated levels.

“The high school instruction accounts are expected to come in $225,000 lower than budgeted and this is due to savings from reduced staffing and from a reduction in the June technology purchase this year,” said Vaas. “Special education is reduced by $130,000 and is the result of a long term sub and also lower support staff costs.”

MAPS also pays the West Shore Educational Services District for students to attend vocational education classes and Vaas said fewer students took advantage of that option in 2017-18.

“The number of students decreased resulting in $42,000 less spent,” said Vaas.

Vaas said there are savings in transportation with the closing of one bus route and operational services. He also said there was an increased transfer to the debt service fund that PILT funds are used to pay.

“This shift will allow us to make the annual transfer to the debt service in the same year at the PILT funds are received,” said Vaas.

Other budgets which finished with a surplus for 2017-18 was for the Paine Aquatic Center (Total expenditures of $243,900 with a $1,100 surplus) food service (total expenditures of $823,000 for a $19,000 surplus). However, the athletic fund had $423,500 in revenues (including $385,000 from the general fund) and expenditures of $444,000 for a $20,500 deficit.

Board members later approved the ending budget on a unanimous vote.

Vaas also rolled out the 2018-19 budget that is balanced with $15,419,100 in revenue and expenditures. No money is needed from fund equity at this time to balance it which is required by the state.

He also told the board that they will levy the 18 mills that is allowed and 2.25 for debt service on the Manistee Middle/High School building.

“The proposed budget is based on a continuation of the prior year amended budget,” said Vaas. “Local revenue included an increase of revenue from the sale of tech equipment as compared with this year. State revenue is based on a per pupil funding allowance of $7,871 for each student.”

However, Vaas said the budget was built using a blending count of 1,422 students which is a reduction of 35 pupils from last year. MAPS has been in a declining enrollment pattern for several years. He also pointed out that the expense accounts included known adjustments from the previous year including salary steps and increased insurance costs.

Board members approved the proposed 2018-19 budget on a unanimous vote.

Also approved by the board was the borrowing not to exceed $3.5 million from the state to be used for expenses for the start of the next school year. Many school districts need to take this step because state funding does not come in until late in the fall and they need the funds for payroll and bills to start the year.

The board also took action to hire three new teachers for the upcoming year. Daniel Brown will be teaching second grade at Jefferson Elementary, Cindy Erdman-Pruyne will teach high school special education and Sara Franklin will be the new fourth grade teacher at Kennedy Elementary School.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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