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A big deficit to deal with

April 21, 2009 - Steve Murch
Monday's Alpena Public Schools board meeting was the shot heard around Northeast Michigan. I'm quite certain it was topic No. 1 during lunch breaks for teachers in the schools throughout the district, if not water cooler discussions around the county. A projected $4 million deficit will do that.

The school administration and board of education are in an unenviable position. I can't think of anyone who would want to face the task they have before them – jobs are going to be lost and day-to-day operations will be impacted. Superintendent Brent Holcomb commented during Monday's meeting that stimulus dollars may impact the district. However, like we editorialized recently, you have to operate as if they aren't coming – which is the premise school officials likely are working under right now.

The cuts, of which there are more than 20 as outlined Monday, would still leave the district over $1.4 million short. It's unlikely that only a portion of the cuts would take place. Under that scenario you could see where some cuts could take place that wouldn't force people to lose jobs or affect students as much. Unfortunately, those options also are the least costly of the potential cuts.

Administration, teachers and parents alike all feel like they just received that proverbial blow to the mid-section. The Alpena Public Schools will be a different school system next year than the one a decade ago. This is just another in a long line of tough breaks for the area recently.

If you see a school board member or administrator, say hello and give them a smile. It's going to be a tough stretch and they could use all the positive reinforcement we can give them.


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