Saline Area Schools Budget for Lower Enrollment, Higher State Funding


The Saline Board of Education closed the books on last year's books and adopted next year's budget.

With conservative budgeting, the district has avoided the kind of budget crunches forcing tough times elsewhere in the state.

Miranda Owsley, Assistant Superintendent of Finance, presented at the budget at the outset of the June 11 meeting.


Revenue came in at $75,502,693 for the year - about $1.1 million less than originally planned. But expenditures were nearly $3 million less than expected. The budget called for $78,290,202 in spending, It came in at $75,339,296.

In the end, the district banked $163,397 for its fund balance - instead of dipping into the fund balance to backfill a $1.6 million loss.

The district expected to spend $35.2 million on the general program and instead spent just $31.6 million.


The district receives most of its funding for operations from the State of Michigan. While school districts are required to pass budgets before the end of the month, the state usually doesn't have its budget passed by then, leaving school districts to budget based on assumptions.

Owsley said there are three current proposals for per-pupil funding. Owsley chose to budget with the most conservative of the three options - so the district is budgeting on a $217-per-pupil increase to $9,825

At the same time, the district is budgeting enrollment will dip by 110 students.

Through attrition, the district is reducing the staff by the equivalent of seven full-time employees.

The retirement rate, which has been a major driver of cost since 2010, is expected to stay flat at around 31 percent of payroll.

The conservative revenue estimate is pegged at $74,968,476 for 24-25 - down about $530,000 from 23-24. Expenditures are pegged at $76,654343. That would require the district to dip into the general fund to make up the $1.7 million shortfall.

The fund balance recently increased from $15.601,748 to $15,765,145, or 20.9 percent of the general fund. According to the conservative budget, that percentage falls to 18.8 percent.


This forecast doesn't account for schools of choice. And neither do the forecasts for the next couple of years, which see enrollment falling by 130 in 25-26 and 106 in 26-27. Owsley also counts on $200-per-pupil increases each of those years. Without adjustment, that healthy fund balance could fall to 5 percent by 26-27 - a level that put the district on the brink of significant cutbacks in 2012.

Board Member Remarks

The district's budget has increased from $62 million in 20-18-2019 to $75 million in 23-24. But a lot of that is passthrough money. For the last several years, to help catch up on the retirement costs, the state has been sending extra money to the districts - and that is immediately returned to the state.

Owsley has been careful not to mix that passthrough money into the state budget.

Trustee Brad Gerbe, head of the finance committee, said he was proud of the budget.

"The $164,000 surplus means we did a good job spending the money we had," Gerbe said. "I'm incredibly proud to present this budget and of the work we did."

Gerbe credited the work of Owsley, the Finance Committee, the teachers and staff and Superintendent Laatsch.

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