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Atlanta facing growing budget deficit

November 14, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Community Schools Board of Education agreed to seek a loan as the district continues to spend deficit money. Board member Dave Smith, representing the finance committee, reported on the schools budget and the committee's recommendations of cost-saving tactics and strategies to move the school forward.

"We fully intended to bring in an amended budget for the board to approve, but it can't be done because of deficit spending," Smith said. "At this point, we only have enough cash on hand to get us through April."

However, Smith said the committee worked diligently to find solutions or changes, but budget numbers drastically changed due to a faulty audit report. Ultimately, he said the district will require a loan to move forward.

"We are $203,000 in the hole, just to balance the budget, which is why we can't even bring in a budget to look at. Legally, this board can't approve a budget in deficit spending," Smith said. "We are as low as we can go, there's not a lot of cutting left."

Smith said one of the possible solutions is for the board to seek a $300,000 loan to get rid of the deficit situation the school is facing. The board ultimately agreed on a resolution that allows Superintendent Don Haskin Jr. to contact the board attorney to develop a negotiation for the district to seek a financial loan.

"For a school in deficit and out looking for a loan, we can't be spending money on a lawsuit," Smith said.

Board member Laurel Orm requested dropping the lawsuit against the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District, but without support the motion failed.

However, all board members agreed to adopt a resolution supporting the regional enhancement millage through the ESD which, according to Haskin, would increase the school's budget, approximately $1,000 per each student for 10 years.

At the end of the board meeting, Haskin did not sound defeated about Atlanta Community Schools becoming a deficit school seeking a loan. Instead, he continues seeking council from other superintendents who have gone through a budget deficit situation, and said over 100 schools in Michigan are in a budget deficit.

"It isn't as scary as it sounds, it's do-able," Haskin said.

In other business:

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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