AMA ESD budget ready for review

ALPENA — Local boards of education have the opportunity to provide feedback on the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District’s 2019-20 general fund budget.

Boards from Alcona Community Schools, Alpena Public Schools, Atlanta Community Schools, and Hillman Community Schools have between May 1 and June 1 to offer any suggestions on the budget to the ESD budget before the ESD board approves it in June.

Numbers are just preliminary in the ESD’s budget, since officials are waiting for information on taxable values, state aid, grants, staffing agreements, consortium agreements, and current budget year amendments. Business Manager Melissa Cook said the ESD board will have a different budget to view in June, once accurate numbers are provided.

The ESD’s budget consists of revenues from local, state, and federal sources. That includes property taxes, grants, and small grant reimbursements.

It also includes expenditures for instructional services and administrative and support services.

The district is committing $200,000 of its fund balance, or cash-on-hand account, for recommended upgrades at Pied Piper School and the ESD central office. ESD Superintendent Scott Reynolds said the ESD central office alone has issues with water dripping on equipment, heating equipment that’s exceeded its lifespan, cracks in walls, and the roof needing to be updated.

Reynolds recently met with Alpena Superintendent John VanWagoner, Alcona Superintendent Dan O’Connor, and Atlanta and Hillman Superintendent Carl Seiter about the ESD’s proposed budget. He said they fully didn’t understand when he talked with them about why $200,000 is being allocated for the upgrades.

“There’s an urgency within all the districts with regard to finance, and I think it’s just a general frustration that all the schools need more money,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said the superintendents also expressed their thoughts about the payouts each district will get from the ESD in the 2019-20 fiscal year. The ESD reimburses local school districts for special education services.

“No two districts have the same exact needs or the same resources, so we got to do whatever we can within our means to be able to support,” Reynolds said.

The local school districts can give feedback about the ESD’s budget and the ESD Board of Education can decide if it wants to use the feedback when making its decision about the budget.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.

In other business

The Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District Board of Education on Tuesday also:

∫ approved Pied Piper School Principal Stacy Wentz as the district’s liaison with the School Safety Commission and the Office of School Safety.

∫ authorized administrators to issue employee contracts for professional staff, paraprofessional staff, administrative staff, Great Start Readiness Program staff, and other staff

∫ approved a new contract with the AMA Paraprofessional Federation, Local No. 4742