October 2010

Dear Community Member:

This letter provides the results of the Clarkston Community Schools effort to reduce expenditures in order to move towards a balanced budget. 

Last year, we initiated two concurrent processes to reduce our expenditures.  One process reduced expenses by nearly $900,000 during the  2009-2010 School Year (FY10).  The second process looked at one hundred twenty one additional reduction recommendations that the Administration believed could be achieved in the FY 11 budget without significantly affecting the quality education we expect to provide to all of our students.  We understand that any reduction will somehow affect our families; however, given the economic climate in Michigan and the State’s formula for funding education, we must achieve a balanced budget so we can continue to provide the best education we can for all of our students.

Based on the implementation of the one hundred twenty one reduction recommendations, we reduced the budget for the 2010-2011 School Year by approximately $6,243,849.  You may notice that several of the salary related reductions do not equal the estimated reduction amount.  The salary numbers are the net result of the staff additions, subtractions (including retirements), and net contractual salary increases required for this school year of approximately $1,700,000.  This $1,700,000 is the amount of salary increases we are contractually bound to pay this school year based on our current negotiated agreements with our various employee groups and is an offset to our savings amount. Taking that into consideration, our FY11 budget reduction amount from the Administrative Recommended Reduction List is approximately $8,000,000.

 Listed below is a summary of the reductions.  The details of each reduction item are also provided in the Administrative Recommended Reduction List.

  • Many of our employee groups took concessions totaling $1,317,919.  These groups included the Administrators, the bus drivers, the custodians, head custodians, maintenance, grounds, mechanics, the central office support staff, board members and food service.  We thank these employees for their sacrifice.
  • We had 80+ employees retire that will provide an approximate savings amount of $2,000,000 over a two year period.  We will miss their wisdom and their experience and we thank them for their many years of service to our students and the District.
  • We laid off 58 teachers and administrators, but due to the Early Retirement Incentive, we were able to recall all but three teachers this fall.
  • We reduced Purchased Services by $251,500 and Supplies and Materials by $612,900 in General Operations.
  • We reduced our Special Education expenses in FY 11.  We also closed our Autistic center program in FY 10 and this will have a long-term impact on reducing our future costs.

In summary, we believe we were successful in our effort to reduce expenses for the 2010-2011 School Year.  However, our continued use of fund equity to offset our expenses in FY 10 and FY 11 has created a need for the district to borrow money for cash flow purposes.  According to our current budget, (Budget Amendment A for FY 11, approved on 9/27/2010) we are still anticipating a deficit of approximately $3,000,000.  Recent decisions at the state level related to the distribution of the federal Education Jobs Fund program may reduce the estimated deficit for the year.  Even if this is so, the district will need to look carefully to the future to assess whether the revenues from the state will be maintained in future years.  So, we will continue to look for innovative ways to reduce our expenses in our necessary effort to achieve a balanced budget.  We thank you for your continued understanding and support.