School spending plans readied

Breitung Township taxpayers to see reduction in debt millage

By Daily News staff

Several school districts in Dickinson County set their budgets for the 2019-20 fiscal year earlier this month.

They include:

Iron Mountain School District

The Iron Mountain School Board has approved a preliminary budget for 2019-20 that keeps the tax rate unchanged.

The budget calls for $7,513,189 in general fund expenditures and $7,723,730 in total revenues.

The budget estimates the district will receive $1,703,273 in local funds, $5,321,848 in state aid and $359,544 in federal aid.

The operating millage rate will remain at 17.937 mills, or $17.94 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

The budget is based on a 750-pupil count, 37 staff members, an increase of $180 per pupil in state aid and a 10 percent cut in the athletic department.

The district has budgeted for four administrative positions but may reduce that number.

The school board took two votes June 13 to pass the budget. The initial vote saw Steve Brooks and Rob Langsford, members of the committee that helped create budget, in favor while board members Lisa Basanese, Geno Basanese, Lisa Carollo and Foz Burgoon said no.

Before the first vote, several coaches and parents spoke against suggested cuts in the athletic department, including three paid football coaches and eliminating freshmen basketball.

None of those cuts were approved at the meeting. Several board members said the athletic director and coaches could find other ways to achieve the 10 percent reduction.

Several board members expressed concern about counting on the potential $180-per pupil increase in state aid, noting the state has not finalized its budget yet.

Both Brooks and Langsford stated before each vote that the budget would change and none of the figures are final.

Lisa Basanese wanted the district to have a more clear plan for administration before approving the budget. She didn’t want the board deciding in September that layoffs were needed.

In the second vote, Carollo and Geno Basanese switched to yes, giving enough support for approval.

Breitung Township School District

KINGSFORD — Property owners in the Breitung Township School District should see the education portion of their tax bills go down after the district paid off a portion of its debt this spring.

For the 2019-20 fiscal year, the debt millage will be reduced from 4 mills to 1.76 mills, or $1.76 per $1,000 of taxable property value.

This is due to paying off the 2012 Refunding Bonds during the fiscal year 2018-19. At the end of fiscal year 2020-21, all debt will be paid, district officials said.

General fund revenues for 2019-20 are estimated at $18,221,284, expenditures at $18,136,240. The general operating levy will remain at 18 mills.

For debt service, tax revenue for 2018-19 was $1,659,941. Debt service tax revenue for 2019-20 is estimated at $710,955 — a decrease of $949,986, again due to the debt millage going from 4 mills to 1.76 mills.

Norway-Vulcan School District

The Norway-Vulcan Area School Board gave preliminary approval June 12 to a proposed budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

The general fund shows total revenues of $6,716,353 and total expenditures of $6,826,133, for a $109,780 deficit.

But the numbers are estimated, Director of Finance Vania Brown told the board, as there were many variables to consider. State funding, in particular, has not been finalized, Superintendent Louis Steigerwald said.

“We expect budget discussions to continue through the summer and probably through September,” Steigerwald said, later adding, “We’ll see how the process plays out at the state level.”

The district looks to end the current fiscal year with a $157,492 surplus, with final general fund revenues at $6,873,858 and expenditures at $6,716,366.

The budget currently lists an increase of $180 per pupil, Brown said, but with an assumed 12-pupil decrease in enrollment.

Also included in the general fund is about $130,000 in raises and a possible full-time special education teacher’s aide.

The athletics fund is “flat,” Brown said, with an estimated $194,388 in both revenues and expenditures. The number is about $5,000 less than the 2018-19 fiscal year, which did not see much revenue as a number of games had been canceled and less events were hosted overall, Brown explained.

The board intends to seek a special election Nov. 5 for a sinking fund millage not to exceed 3 mills, or $3 per $1,000 of taxable property, over 10 years. The millage would generate an estimated $526,517 annually, to be used for construction or repair of school buildings, security improvements or technology upgrades.

Staff writers Margarite Lanthier, Theresa Proudfit and Brian Christensen all contributed to this story.