Superintendent John Savel introduced several suggested budget cuts and changes at Monday's regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.
The Trenton School District had four public forums last week to discuss the budget and places within the budget where the district may have to make cuts and changes.
Savel said the district needs to cut about $3 million out of the current budget.
The budget cuts and changes are in anticipation of the approval of Gov. Rick Snyder's proposed budget cuts for public schools. Snyder proposed cutting about $470 dollars per student on top of cuts in recent years that have significantly reduced the amount of per student funding in Michigan public schools.
Trenton's current budget is about $26 million and the general fund balance was at about $2.5 million at the start of the school year. Savel said the fund balance would likely be at about $1.4 million by March 2011.
According to Board of Education member Mike Hawkins the forums had low attendance. Despite the low turnout, a list was made of potential places to make cuts and changes in the budget.
This is a list of the suggested budget cuts and changes as read by Savel at the meeting:
- Ask the teacher's union for a pay decrease.
- Eliminate all bus service.
- Make athletics fully pay to play.
- Pay to play or reasonable rate and maybe a percent of a cost per program.
- Eliminate middle school sports as travel, make them all intramural and have high school students or parents volunteer to coach teams.
- Terminate paid event ticket sales position. Make it volunteers–NHS students and parents from the sports.
- Apply for grants to convert buses over to bio-fuel (vegetable oil from restaurants).
- Eliminate art and music at the elementary schools. Kindergarten through third-grade students do projects in class already that are considered art. Have kids sing the National Anthem every morning—teachers can play music in class or maybe allow older grades to bring in mp3 players.
- Both art and music can become pay-to-participate programs, after-school programs where each day one grade level meets for a certain time period (45 minutes) for a couple of weeks (eight weeks) for a small fee ($20).
- Student parking: Charge a moderate fee for kids to drive to school and use the parking lot.
- Close the middle school; move seventh- and eighth-grade students to the high school and sixth-grade students to the elementary schools.
- Create a citywide business giveback percentage to the school district.
- Sinking fund.
- Think about closing the middle school pool.
- High school and maybe middle school could go to four days in school and one day at home. Teachers could still be available by web and phone, kids would still do work, but operational costs could be cut by 20 percent.
- Divert all paper disposal and recycling in city to school recycling. Paper, metal and glass could generate some revenue.
- Print double-sided pages at every level.
- Do small lotteries at city activities.
- Use of public transportation.
- Review health insurance policies.
- Consolidation of services with other districts or the city.
- Schools of choice at lower elementary to make up for projected decrease in enrollment.
- Elimination of middle school sports and move to intramural sports.
- Listen to any and all concessions from the Trenton Education Association.
- Open limited school of choice for kindergarten through fifth grades.
- Put board meetings and forums on cable and archive web site viewing.
- Plan bus routes with fewer turns, saving money on fuel.
Savel said he could not provide an estimated value of each budget idea at the time of the meeting.