LOCS sees nearly $2.3M federal funding decrease, holds 2024-25 budget resolution second reading

By Joseph Goral
Staff Writer
 LAKE ORION — The Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education covered a decrease of $2,273,626 in federal sources funding during their 2024-25 budget resolution’s second reading on June 26.
The decrease in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds accounts for $1,674,958 of the total decrease. ESSER funds were provided by the U.S. government to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on schools across the country, according to michigan.gov.
A Michigan Department of Education dashboard shows LOCS has $364,445 left in ESSER funding as of July 1. The deadline to spend these funds is Sept. 30, according to the Michigan Education Association.
A $403,900 decrease in Head Start funds and a $46,476 decrease in Grow Your Own funding accounts for the rest of the federal sources funding decrease. Head Start provides free learning and development to children up to 5-years-old from low-income families while Grow Your Own addresses staffing needs.
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Andrea Curtis covered other aspects of the proposed budget, including general fund projected revenues being around $107.4 million.
Significant adjustments Curtis mentioned to general fund proposed expenditures include an approximately $920,000 increase in property taxes and a $1.6 million increase in state funding.
Curtis said the latter is tied to grants 23-G, Michigan’s Kids Back on Track, and 35j, which provides districts $140 million to improve literacy instructional practices by investing in quality, research-based best practices, and professional learning.
“These affect function line items in the budget of basic programs, added needs, pupil support services and instruction improvement,” Curtis said.
The community service fund is also projected to decrease, which received “significant amounts of federal funding” that are no longer available, she said.
Curtis also said the district is trying to “spend down” their food service fund balance because of a current excess. LOCS is only allowed three months average of expenditures in their fund balance because of the free food funding, and that almost every district has this fund balance.
“So, what we try to use that for is capital improvements,” Curtis said.
The sinking fund is based on the current project status schedule – most of those dollars being spoken for with the summer’s construction projects.
Bond series two will be spent out in the 2024-25 fiscal year, and series three will be issued in early 2025.

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