Failed Land Sale Turns Surplus into Deficit, Forcing Cuts at Saline Area Schools

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 11/30/2019 - 12:28

The more than $800,000 one-time financial shot in the arm for the Saline Area School district from the sale of school property to Speedway was the most glaring difference between the amended 2019-2020 budget and earlier drafts.

The sale fell through due to the buyer being unable to get the zoning for the land at Industrial and Michigan.

The amended budget is running a $244,693 deficit compared to a $258,952 surplus in the proposed budget. Along with overestimates of other regular revenues sources, the proposed budget overshot the reality on the ground reflected in the amended budget by $1.579 million.

The Board of Education's finance committee responded with a number of tweaks to the district's 2019-2020 expenses, including the following:

  • Instructional staff services reduced from $2.637 million to $2.455 million.
  • General administrative expenses from $763,000 to $736,000.
  • Transportation reduced from $247,000 to $210,000.
  • Human resources reduced from $810,000 to $772,000.
  • Technology support reduced from $776,000 to $687,000.
  • Athletics reduced from $1.424 million to $1.250 million.

The district's general fund balance will decline to $2.641 million or 5.18 percent of the budget, as opposed to $2.716 million or 5.27 percent.

Assistant Superintendent of Finance Miranda Owsley said the changes leave the district with a fund balance that is at a critical level.

Board Trustee and finance committee chair Dennis Valenti said the district has to borrow money each year to pay its bills until state funding and other revenue sources are collected due to the small amount of fund balance.

He likened that situation to someone taking out a payday loan to get by.

Sean Dalton's picture
Sean Dalton
Sean Dalton is a veteran of the Washtenaw County journalism scene. He co-founded WeLoveDexter.com and WeLoveAnnArbor.com and also worked for Heritage Newspapers.