Onaway sets school budget

ONAWAY – The Onaway Area Community Schools board of education approved a budget for the 2013-14 school year, one that spends $239,971 of the district’s general fund balance.

After taking into account some changes to state per-pupil funding, Superintendent Rod Fullerton said Onaway is set to take in $5,764,863 next school year, and spend $6,004,833. The difference will be covered by drawing down the general fund balance, leaving it just below $300,000. This will cover only 5 percent of the district’s expenses.

“We are certainly getting down to where we have to be a balanced budget after this,” he said.

Many school board members were concerned about the district’s finances, and in the coming weeks they’ll be considering their options for saving money, Fullerton said. Among the things they’ll look into is whether to share mechanical services with Rogers City Area Schools for the district’s bus fleet, among other positions they might consolidate.

One positive is student count, Fullerton said. After graduating a small class, Onaway is set to get in 52 kindergartners next school year, making for a slight student population increase.

The district, along with others throughout the state, will see an increase in state aid, Fullerton said. He expects per-pupil funding to go up to $7,026, about a $60 increase over last year’s.

Despite the increase, Onaway’s revenues are projected to be only slightly higher than last year’s, Fullerton said. He also was less than overwhelmed by the increase in state aid.

“We’re certainly appreciative of anything we receive,” he said. “Still, I believe that our foundation allowance is still less than it was three years ago.”

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.