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Potential cuts ahead to balance Kalamazoo School budget

by
Gary Start in the foreground, with the Board in the Background
Gary Start in the foreground, with the Board in the Background

KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- Kalamazoo Public School Trustees have gotten their first look at the preliminary budget for next year, and despite the Governor’s claims that they are getting more money this year, they will have to find a way to cut over a million dollars out of their spending plan.

Asst. Supt. for Finance Gary Start says while they will be getting 53-dollars more per student this year. They are also being told to pay 39-dollars per student more for a decreased retirement credit, and a 41% increase in the retirement rate, which will mean in real dollars, the district will be getting 65-thousand dollars less from the state to spend on students.

Start says that combined with higher costs for health insurance, utilities, labor, and lower property tax assessments and they had to cut 1.1-million from the 130-million dollar spending plan.

Start is proposing they not hire new teachers despite a projected increase in their student population. He is also recommending they relocate one program and eliminate two others to balance the budget.

He says their district is in relatively good shape because of "The Promise" and the growth in enrollment it has meant for the district.  He says this next year's school financing plans could push a lot more districts into financial insolvency. 

The School Board will hold a public hearing and then vote on the spending plan at their next meeting. All public school budgets in Michigan are due on July 1st.

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