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APS OKs budget requiring a big savings withdrawal

News Photo by Crystal Nelson A house located at 1348 Wildcat Court and built by Alpena High School students is pictured here on Monday. The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education agreed to sell the home for $252,000 on Monday.

ALPENA — The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education on Monday adopted a $40.9 million budget and approved the sale of a student-built home at 1348 Wildcat Court.

Mary Lyon, the district’s associate superintendent for business and operations, said APS will have to withdraw about $315,000 from savings to balance the current-year, $42 million budget that ends today.

Officials plan to use another $2.1 million from savings to balance the $40.9 budget for the fiscal year that begins Wednesday, because it expects only $38.8 million in revenue. The district plans to spend 2.6% less next year than it did this year.

Officials expect to have nearly $3.6 million in savings at the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

No layoffs, pay raises, pay cuts, or eliminated programs are planned for the 2021 budget, but contract negotiations with the district’s instructional assistants and bus drivers are ongoing. Contracts with those unions expire today.

Superintendent John VanWagoner said the district has not been able to replace many of the people who retired last year, has not budgeted for many things it needs, and has not been able to purchase new curricular materials.

VanWagoner on Monday said he was not pleased with the district’s budget, although his displeasure had nothing to do with the district or its staff.

VanWagoner said schools could see state revenue cuts of $500 to $700 per student because Michigan has lost billions of dollars in tax revenue because of coronavirus-related shutdowns. State law requires the district to adopt a balanced budget by July 1.

“Our people have gone above and beyond in taking sacrifices in pay and benefits for a decade,” VanWagoner said. “Because of the COVID emergency, we’re looking at a 10% to 20% reduction in our funding from the state of Michigan.”

He said, because of the pandemic, the district will also have to pay for additional cleaning supplies and extra cleaning that it doesn’t have the funds for.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

In other business

The Alpena Public Schools Board of Education on Monday also:

∫ Agreed to sell a house built by Alpena High School’s Building and Trades program students for $252,000. The home at 1348 Wildcat Court received two offers.

∫ Decided it will continue to hold board and committee meetings via the online platform Zoom through July. The board’s organizational meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. July 20.

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