Hartland School officials are trying to remain positive when it comes to the district’s tight budget, but are up against an uncontrollable factor that’s affecting districts across the state.

The Board of Education recently discussed the district’s 2018/2019 budget with an eye on major challenges and the best solutions available. Board members say currently the biggest road-blocker is the unpredictability in state revenue, which is an issue all districts are battling. Michigan’s education budget for the next school year calls for an increase in base K-12 funding for lower-funded districts, from $120 to $240 per student. It’s the largest increase in 17 years. Superintendent Chuck Hughes says it’s a nice number from the governor this year, but wonders if it’ll last.

Hughes says state revenue is a big player when it comes to budget planning, but its inconsistency makes it difficult. Hughes says the board has worked hard to cover their bases and even set aside funds in the event of an emergency, but noted the district has a long list when it comes to items that will soon need replacing. Hughes says it may come to a point where the district will have to bring a bond proposal before voters, depending on per-pupil revenue in the coming years and the ability to climb out of a structural deficit.

In the meantime, staff members say the district has taken on some positive proactive measures, like privatizing their services and advertising as a school of choice in order to grow their student body. Staff member Scott Bacon says, “We’ll survive just like we always do.” (DK)