Despite uncertainty, Esky schools pass budget

ESCANABA — Escanaba Area Public Schools’ Director of Business Services Kevin Pascoe presented budgets for general, food service, and student/school activity funds to the board of education for the 2020-2021 school year Monday.

The General Fund total revenue budget, $22,852,341, includes 18 mils of ad valorem taxes that will go toward operating purposes.

“It’s important to note this includes 18 mils of ad valorem taxes to be levied on non-homestead and non-qualified agricultural property,” said Pascoe.

General Fund expenditures were budgeted to be $23,383,593.

“We are budgeting expenses to exceed revenues by $531,252,” Pascoe said.

The projected general fund balance June 30, 2021 is $1,933,237.

“This is all subject to change when the state finally decides what and when they’re going to do,” said School Board President Bob Chaillier.

Superintendent Coby Fletcher responded, saying the budget is almost guaranteed to change.

“It’s difficult to have to adopt your budget by July 1, when the state has until Oct. 1 to do their work,” said Fletcher. “I think information will continue to come out to us about what to expect, but this is for us … I think it is a fairly conservative look and would represent what seems to be (planned) right now.”

Under the assumption the school year will be normal, Pascoe budgeted revenue for the Food Service fund at $1,361,942, and expenditures at $1,357,776.

“We believe at this point food service can fend for itself,” said Pascoe.

Chaillier asked if anyone has looked into feeding all the students in Escanaba, adding grades ninth – 12. Fletcher said they were waiting on the state and Escanaba Director of Food Service Nancy LaFave is working on it.

Pascoe said the Student/School Activities fund was budgeted on a typical year, $400,000 in revenue and expenditures.

After hearing no comments from attending public, the board approved the 2020-2021 original budget.

In other business the board:

– voted to change the board of education term lengths from six to four years starting the 2022 election year.

– approved borrowing $3,950,000 from the state. This amount is the same amount borrowed for the 2019-2020 school year. The state aid note aids the district in getting through the year until taxes are collected.

“This is due to the way the state has it set up, so every district almost has to borrow, pay the fees, pay the banks, interest and everything,” said Chaillier. “They (state) could make it simple.”

Fletcher said it is a fix the state could make immediately and the school could put the money paid in fees toward an additional teacher.

“So it is a little frustrating …,” said Fletcher. “All it would take is a simple change.”

– heard an update from Escanaba Athletic Director Tony Perino. Students have started working out voluntarily and currently not allowed in the locker rooms. Perino thanked the fan club for helping them get items needed to practice and said he is looking forward to the new school year.

“We’re going to hope for the best and plan for the worst,” said Perino. “… kids are happy to be back …”


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