Tuesday, June 27, 2000

State funding increase will help eliminate deficit

State funding increase will help eliminate deficit
The Ann Arbor News
By Pamela Appea

Tecumseh, Michigan—A state funding increase and other cost-saving measures got the Tecumseh school district a few steps closer to eliminating a potential deficit of up to $215,000 for the 2000-2001 school year.

“We’re $248,000 better off this week than last week,” said Tom Emery, business manager for the district.

The state recently allocated additional money per each K-12 student per for the 2000-2001 school year to school districts including Tecumseh.

Tecumseh schools will get an increase of $63 per student, Emery said at Monday’s school board meeting. Including the increase, the state will now provide $6,098 per student in the Tecumseh school district, he said.

Although the state money is clearly beneficial for the district, it will not immediately change any of Tecumseh’s plans for programs in the 2000-2001 school year. Previously, Tecumseh administrators said despite the looming deficit they still hoped to provide their full slate of new and continuing educational and athletic programs, including the introduction of a “T-1” transitional grade between kindergarten and first grade.

Emery reported that some of the 2000-2001 budget savings resulted from hiring less experienced—but still qualified—school teachers, in addition to the cutting and adjusting of other district costs.

Administrators expect the budget situation to continue to improve.

The goal to focus on now, Tecumseh officials said, is attracting students to the district.

“I’m looking forward to providing great things for kids,” said Richard D. Fauble, Tecumseh superintendent.

Citing a $28 million September bond issue to reconfigure school buildings—which all school trustees and officials support—Fauble said the plan, if passed, would benefit future generations of children and Tecumseh’s steadily growing community.

If more students come to the Tecumseh schools, the state would increase funding to the district.

The community is definitely growing, with up to 30 new housing developments in the works or recently completed in the last year or two, Fauble said.

But school board members have consistently voiced a concern that schools of choice in the area, as well as parochial schools, are attracting potential Tecumseh public schools to pick alternatives.

The game plan, school administrators said, is to plan ahead for growth, keeping the district abreast of competition.

Citing wealthier school districts in the area, Emery said the Ann Arbor school district—a much larger district—gets a few thousand dollars more per student every year, although some of that money comes from locally levied property taxes.

Emery acknowledges that Tecumseh is nowhere near the size of Ann Arbor.

As Tecumseh grows, school officials said, it make sense for the community and adminstrators to be ambitious about securing additional state funding and other grants for school programs.

The more money the district has per student the more likely it is the district has room to plan for additional programs, particularly support programs like the T-1 class, officials said.

The estimated K-12 student population in the fall is 3.230 students. After a slight dip in Tecumseh’s student population during a mid-year count in February, Tecumseh school officials said the informal June count showed that not only were the district’s numbers “slightly up,” but that the district is primed for a modest—yet steady—student growth in the 2000-2001 school year.

Originally published Tuesday, June 27, 2000