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Like many other districts in Michigan, Ypsilanti Public Schools is facing the possibility of budget deficits.
According to a report from Superintendent James Hawkins, given to the board of education Monday night, the district is expected to face a $4 million shortfall for the 2009-2010 school year. Accordingly, multiple cuts have been recommended.
The cuts include reducing secretary and support staff hours, cutting the number of field trips and cutting conference attendance for administrators. The district may also cut one custodial position, one clerical position and 5.5 teacher positions due to low enrollment in addition to other cutbacks.
In total, over $2.3 million in budget cuts have been recommended.
Hawkins called the cuts “preliminary,” and indicated that those listed could be changed, increased or removed altogether.
“We have made some recommendations that we’ve discussed that will not have disastrous consequences to the budget,” Hawkins said. “We’re not going to devour our educational programs—we’re not going to destroy our educational quality.”
Even with the proposed cuts, the district is still almost $1.7 million dollars in the red, assuming the district is able to sell Fletcher Elementary to Eastern Michigan University and changes to Title 1 funding do not go through.
The Title 1 program provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers or high percentages of poor children, to help ensure all children meet state academic standards. In the past, school districts had been able to use some of that money to pay kindergarten teachers. A recent court case could end that.
If YPS is unable to sell Fletcher Elementary and can no longer use Title 1 funding for kindergarten teachers, the district faces an even larger deficit—nearly $3.7 million.
The district also faces possible budget cuts from the state. Hawkins told the board the state may reduce funding by $200 to $300 per student. Should that happen, Hawkins said it would “destroy” the district and its educational programs.
Hawkins added that he’s seen $14.8 million cut from a budget of $55 million since he became superintendent in 2005.
“We can’t continue to keep cutting ourselves out of the situation,” Hawkins said. “We can’t continue to cut $4 or $5 million every year.”
The board plans to meet on May 27 to discuss the deficit and cuts and is required to have a balanced 2009-2010 budget by July 1. If the district does not have a balanced budget, it faces the possibility of formulating a deficit elimination plan, with regular reports to the state.