AMA ESD works on thin budget with more cuts

ALPENA – The sequestration cuts implemented by the federal government will have an impact on the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Education Service District’s special education fund. Each year the AMA ESD receives approximately $2 million in government funding that is put into the special education fund for restricted use. It is expected a 5 percent reduction will take effect that equates to $100,000 loss in revenue for local special education needs.

Assistant Superintendent Tony Suszek said he is not sure when the cuts will take effect and if it will need to be addressed in the current budget that ends on June 1, or next year’s budget . He said it is unlikely there will be significant cuts made to personnel or programs, but it makes an already thin budget even tighter.

“I’m not sure if it will affect this year’s budget or the 2013-14 budget and that is tough when we’re having trouble balancing the budget now,” Suszek said. “We have built up some funds over the years and the board has done a good job of building up a fund balance, so no programs should be cut unless we absolutely have to. I think we’ll be OK and be able to move forward with the money that is in the special education fund.”

In other business:

* Superintendent Brian Wilmot said the cost of the special election for the enhancement millage cost the school districts a combined $45,000. The millage would have been for 3 mill over 10 years. It was voted down by the residents of the three counties.

* From Feb. 11 through March 22, 11th grade students at Pied Piper will be taking the spring MI-ACCESS test.

* spring break is scheduled to begin on March 25 and school will resume on April 1.

* graduation at Pied Piper is scheduled for May 24 at 1 p.m. This year there are seven students expected to receive their diplomas.

* the AMA ESD is applying for a $50,000 Michigan College Access Grant. The grant could be used to hire a college access facilitator who could lead to the number of students going onto post-secondary programs.

* the next meeting is scheduled for April 12 at 6 p.m.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at