As School Year Winds Down, Birmingham Looks at $2.5 Million Budget Deficit
Expenditures continue to grow and if the district does nothing, they could face a $10 million deficit by 2016, officials say.
Birmingham Public Schools continues to "tread water" when it comes to paying the bills, but a look ahead at the school district's budget isn't promising, district officials say.
According to a mid-year budget report from Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Debbie Piesz, the Birmingham Public Schools has a budget deficit of $2.5 million heading into the second half of the school year.
That's almost half a million dollars less than the district thought it would be last summer. The projected deficit for the 2012-13 school year was $2.9 million, Piesz said.
What made the difference? After the district opened up its alternative high school to the Michigan Schools of Choice program, Birmingham received a $434,995 reward for meeting the state's best practices.
"We, like every other district, have been treading water," school board member Robert Lawrence said. "We're just slightly higher in the ocean."
Piesz said Birmingham has been able to keep a lid on its budget over the years due to unexpected sources of cash. In January 2012, the district was able to slash its budget deficit by $4.5 million because of more state funding and a jump in enrollment.
However, Piesz said even Birmingham will reach its own "financial cliff." "We all get to the cilff, we're just there a little later than everyone else," she said. "We're lucky that we have a very supportive community."
If the district doesn't adjust and expenditures and revenues continue to grow as expected in coming years, Piesz said Birmingham could face at $10.4 million budget deficit in 2016-17.
Where is that money being spent? According to Piesz's presentation, the amount paid to salaries jumped by 6.36 percent in 2012-13 while total expenditures grew by 4.15 percent.
Are you ever concerned with the school district's budget?