By Mike Kruzman /

The Howell Public Schools Board of Education met to discuss what likely reductions in funding will do to their next fiscal year budget.

The Board held a special meeting online this week in advance of the June 30th deadline in which they and all Michigan school districts must pass their budgets. Superintendent Erin MacGregor said one of the challenges they face is not having definitive information from the state on how far reductions to per student allowances will cut. MacGregor said that back in February it looked like there would be a $180 increase per pupil next year, but now he feels they are looking, more likely, at a $650 decrease. He told the Board that the budget will be made on assumptions, and then will have to be amended once they have that info from the state. If they use that revenue number as the assumption with keeping expenses at the same level, meaning no reductions, he estimated a budget shortfall of 4-million to $6-million. To lessen this, he presented the Board with 3 tiers of possible reductions for saving money, with tier 3 being the absolute last resort cuts. While all the potential cuts are difficult, MacGregor said the district has put itself in a very good position to a weather a storm, and he wants to make sure they continue to put themselves in that position.

Tier 1 and 2 cuts include items like reductions in administrative salaries and fees, bringing graduation home, closing the aquatic center temporarily, and some teacher reductions. Tier 3 cuts included greater staff reduction, reducing security officers and the school resource officer, guidance counselor positions, and reductions in athletics. None of those cuts were set in stone and could be shifted between tiers. It was estimated that if the district were to not make any eventual tier 3 reductions this year, they could get by with using $2-million out of the fund balance. This would leave their fund balance at 7.5%. MacGregor said he will put together a draft budget for Monday’s regular meeting, with it going up for adoption on June 22nd.