RCAPS board approves 2014-15 budget

REED CITY – The Reed City Area Public Schools Board of Education approved its budget for the 2014-15 school year and an amended budget for the 2013-14 school year, increasing total expenditures about $51,000.

“When we put out a budget in the beginning of the year, it is an estimate of how much money we are bringing in and how much money we are going to spend,” said Superintendent Tim Webster, noting that during the school year, unforeseen expenses arise. “At the end of the year, everything you spend has to be spent on what you said you were going to spend it on, and it all has to be accounted for.”

The district’s 2014-15 school year general fund proposed budget of nearly $12.92 million and expenditures of about $12.72 million leaves about $200,000 in the districts cash reserve.

“Most people think that 5 percent is getting dangerously low,” Webster said of the district’s cash reserve. “At a $13 million budget, $600,000 to $700,000 would be dangerously low.”

Webster said the budget is balanced for the 2014-15 school year and he expects the district’s revenue to more than the proposed $12.92 million.

“This budget is based on our revenue of receiving the same amount of money as last year, and it is also based on 15 fewer students,” he said, adding that if the district does not lose 15 students, they will receive more from the state in per-pupil funding. With per-pupil funding rising for the 2014-15 school year, he said the district will likely receive an additional $115 per student, raising the amount received per student to about $7,191.

The board also discussed the sale of a one-acre parcel of land owned by the district in Chase after an individual approached the district about purchasing the property. The board decided to allow the individual to make an offer on the property, which it will hear at a future meeting.

During the meeting, board members also heard about the school improvement plans administrators at each building have developed with a team of staff members with the goal of making RCAPS a higher performing district.

Middle school math teacher Jeremy DeVos also told the board about a $5,000 grant he recently received from Lowes, which is being used to purchase IdeaPaint, which will transform the surfaces of desktops, chalkboards and cabinets in several classrooms into dry erase surfaces.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved the authorization of notes in anticipation of state school aid to be received in the 2014-15 school year, approving the application to the Michigan Municipal Bond Authority. The roughly $2.3 million loan is used to pay staff in the district, as government aid is not available until November and school begins in September.
  • Approved a one-year, $37,000 contract for executive secretary Joycelyn Busch;
  • Approved a lease addendum and extension with MOS, which provides copy machines, toner and repair services to the district. The decision will save the district about $10,000 per year;
  • Approved an agreement for track use with Trinity Lutheran Church and School, which sold its building with deeded rights to use the Reed City High School track once per year, along with other usage as long as it does not interfere with RCAPS events. Trinity will still be able to use the track once per year; however the new owner of the building will not receive access.
  • Acknowledged the retirements of Kerry McGinley, Sally Earnest and Cathy Quinn;
  • Reopened the $10,000 retirement incentive deadline, giving those interested another two weeks to accept.

The next RCAPS Board of Education meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on July 21, in the Porteous Academic Center, located at Reed City Middle School.