By Megan Kelley
During the Dec. 16 meeting of the Lake Orion Community School’s Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance John Fitzgerald reviewed the district’s budget amendment for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.
Over the summer, the final amendment for the 2020-2021 fiscal year was reviewed which then was used in the adopted budget for the school year. At this time, the district was operating under a good deal of uncertainty as far as funding they would receive from the state.
“At that time frame, the school aid fund was showing a billion…dollar deficit which translated into a roughly…$600 plus foundation allowance cut that we would be required to balance,” Fitzgerald said. “When all of that was hanging up in the air, and we were putting these budgets together and planning with the expectation of a $600 per pupil cut coming down the pipeline, the final amendment was approved, incorporating that $600 cut which led to…an expectation of a multi-million-dollar operating deficit.”
With the knowledge, or lack-there-of, the district’s general fund took a roughly $5 million reduction in order to balance the budget.
“Literally every function, department, area in the district in the general fund incurred major reductions in that adopted budget process,” said Fitzgerald.
By the end of August, the State reviewed the School Aid Fund and found that the reduction in per pupil funding was not going to be nearly as bad as anticipated and that the per pupil funding cut was actually going to be $175.
Additionally, the district was informed that they would be receiving a little over $2.6 million in CARES Act funding with $1.4 million of that being a replacement of the cut that was taken from the district’s prior year budget, Fitzgerald said.
Because of the anticipated budget issue and taking the proper steps to balance the budget only to later be told they would not be incurring those hits; the district was able to revise the budget adding funds back to areas that had previously been cut.
These changes resulted in a total fund balance of $8,334,299 rather than the anticipated $3,442,193.
“We’re roughly in the same place that we started fiscal (year) 2020 at,” Fitzgerald said.