Perry schools passes budget amid uncertainty

PERRY — Perry Public Schools will draw $287,258 from its savings during the 2020-21 fiscal year to meet expenditures, a move Superintendent Lori Haven says will allow the district to maintain programming and staff.

The preliminary 2020-21 budget, approved by the Board of Education June 15, projects revenue at $10.3 million, with expenditures of about $10.6 million.

Budgeted revenue is down $553,291 from the final 2019-20 budget, in part due to a projected $500 cut by the state in the district’s foundation allowance (per pupil funding) because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The district is anticipating an enrollment of 1,014 students this fall, 40 students fewer than the fall 2019 count, according to Haven.

The district budgeted $287,258 from its fund balance for the 2020-21 budget year, leaving projected savings at the end of the year at $476,631, about 4.5 percent of total expenditures.

“We are not planning layoffs or cutting of programs at this time,” Haven said via email. “Once we have concrete numbers from the state, the board will decide how to proceed in terms of how we address the budget shortfall.”

The exact financial picture for 2020-21 is difficult to project, officials say, since the state Legislature has yet to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

School districts in Michigan are required to submit their budgets by July 1. The state budget year, meanwhile, does not begin until October.

Last week, Republicans in Michigan’s Legislature proposed a $1.3 billion plan to help K-12 schools reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, but Perry’s preliminary budget reflects no additional support from Lansing, according to Haven.

Nonetheless, board of education members unanimously approved a resolution stating their commitment to the students and staff of Perry Public Schools.

According to the resolution, the board will:

n Work diligently to preserve the educational opportunities provided to students.

n Work collaboratively with the superintendent and finance director to support a budget that holds student programming as harmless as possible, keeping any potential budget cuts as far from students as possible.

n Support the thoughtful planning of use of funds that will provide support for the long term goals and priorities of the district.

n Advocate for equitable funding for the district.

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