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Albion High School, Albion school board, Dan Skean, John Waugh, Letitia Kotas

>District official says closing Albion High School would net savings of only $116,000 per year

>Albion Public Schools is in danger of becoming a deficit district by 2012, but even a measure as drastic as closing the high school would not result in much savings, the district’s accounting supervisor said.

At a school board work session Tuesday, John Waugh said closing the high school would result in a net savings of roughly $116,000 a year after taking into account unemployment benefits paid out, the loss of per-pupil funding, a reduction in Title funding and other variables.

“I wanted to show this first so people that think this is our magic bullet, that this is going to save the day on the budget, realize I don’t see that happening,” he said. “We’ve looked at it, and it doesn’t make any sense at all and this district is worth fighting for.”

The next set of numbers he revealed showed the fight is getting tougher.

By June 30, the district is expected to have just over $440,000 remaining in its fund balance, nearly $1 million less than in 2010. That balance is in jeopardy if significant cuts are not made, Superintendent Frederick Clarke said.

Waugh is predicting a budget shortfall of $1.7 million next year.

In a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis, Waugh laid out discussion points for the board to consider as the July 1 budget deadline approaches.

Among biggest cost-cutting measures being considered are: cutting band and choir ($172,000); cutting art ($186,000); eliminating athletics ($236,000); adding a 20 percent insurance co-pay for employees ($168,000); providing busing only November through May ($178,000); and reducing wages by 7.5 percent for all district employees ($273,383).

“Obviously, these savings would be offset by the students we lose,” said Letitia Kotas, a second-grade teacher at Harrington Elementary School. “If you’re going to cut transportation, there are many kids who barely get to school as is.”

All those cost-savings options, including closing Caldwell Elementary School by 2012-13, would still leave the district with a projected deficit of $255,000.

President Dan Skean said the board would schedule input meetings with teachers and the community to gather opinions in the coming weeks.

“Hard decisions will be made, people will be unhappy,” he said. “We have to exercise choice-making that minimizes negative impacts to the students directly.”
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on May 25, 2011


About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.


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