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Birmingham Schools' Deficit Cut by $4.5 Million

District revises its budget mid-year after realizing savings in salaries and benefits as well as energy costs and slight increase in revenues.

The Birmingham Board of Education voted Tuesday night to amend the district's 2011-12 general appropriations budget, reflecting a mid-year adjustment with a better-than-expected financial outlook.

In total, as part of the district's amended budget, the general budget deficit was reduced from $6.6 million to $2.1 million.

"2011-12 was much better than we anticipated," said Deborah Piesz, assistant superintendent of business services.

The biggest budget reductions came from a decrease in salaries and benefits, as well as an 18 percent reduction in utility bills, a figure that can be attributed to the unusually warm winter so far and smart energy management, Piesz said.

Projected revenues for the district increased by 0.9 percent in the first six months of the 2011-12 school year, or $883,498. This increase is attributed to more state funding, a jump in enrollment, as well as adjusted Medicaid reimbursements through Oakland Schools.

The revenue scene hasn't been all positive, Piesz said. Birmingham schools saw a descrease in local revenue sources, including revenue from property taxes, summer school tuition and rental fees from the Japanese School of Detroit, which moved out of last year.

On top of increasing revenues, the district spent less than budgeted during the first six months of the 2011-12 school year.

The district amended its projected expenditures for the year, bringing the final figure to $103,644,729. That's $3 million, or 3.4 percent, less than originally projected.

Stay tuned to Patch for more on the Tuesday night meeting of the Birmingham Board of Education.

ClassAct4 January 18, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Unfortunately, a $2.1 million deficit is still abissmal, and risks appoinment of an Emergency Manager and suspension of the School Board by the State. Pay continues to be the largest line item in the budget. Birmingham teachers agreed to a pay freeze, and to pay 10% of their medical benefits. Neighboring school districts in West Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Hamtramck, Detroit, etc. agreed with their teachers to actual pay cuts of 10%, and payment of 20% for benefits. Had Birmingham followed suit, the savings to the District would have exceeded $3 million, and Birmingham would have had it's financial house in order. Pay and benefit cuts are necessary for the health and vitality of Birmingham Schools, and the Union representing over 500 Birmingham teachers must recognize their obligations to keep the district solevent and truly act in the best interests of students.

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