Dearborn News

    Dearborn Schools expecting decrease in students, staff next year but more funding for early college

    The budget for Dearborn Public Schools might be a little smaller for the upcoming school year, in addition to decreases in staff and students in the district, according to a report presented to the school board recently.

    Thomas Wall, the executive director of business and operations for Dearborn Schools, gave a presentation Monday on the district’s estimated budget for the 2018-2019 school year, as well as predictions for the 2019-2020 year. He said budget figures are late this year most likely due to the restructuring of the state government, with newly appointed governor, Gretchen Whitmer, as well as new members of the House and Senate.

    In combination with the special revenue, debt and capital project funds, this year’s budget estimated total is $312,429,070. Revenue included $30,975,518 in federal funding, $183,736,507 in state funding and $62,548,469 in local funding, among other forms.

    Along with an over $3 million budget, the number of students in the district increased. In spring 2018, 20,011 students were reported, and by fall 2018, 20,730 were enrolled. However, Dearborn Schools still experienced a 139.5 decrease when compared to figures from the 2017-2018 school year.

    The number of students will continue to decrease into the next school year, predicted Wall. The district could lose over 100 students, going from 20,747 students this spring, to 20,619 students in the fall.

    In addition, Wall estimates at least 50 teachers will retire over the summer. As for the remaining teachers and staff, he said they may be moved into different positions. The district does not plan on laying off any teachers.

    The budget for the upcoming school year is expected to be $309,760,202, which could be a $2.6 million decrease for Dearborn Schools. Wall said the reduction of the school budget is due to a decrease in the capital project fund, which goes towards infrastructure repairs and replacements.

    However, specific areas will see an increase in funds. The budget for special education transportation will increase from $2.1 million to $3 million for the 2019-2020 school year. Meanwhile funds for the district’s early college programs, such as Henry Ford Early College and Henry Ford Collegiate Academy, will grow from $37.2 million to $37.6 million.

    Other takeaways from the presentation included the allowance for the district foundation increased $65, taxes increased 3.8%, school staff went up 2% and is getting younger and instructional programs continue to be strong. However, Wall said there needs to be more funding for infrastructure.

    The school board members expressed their concerns about the budget, and state funding for education.

    Last month, the state Senate rejected Gov. Whitmer’s proposal on adding $507 million to K-12 education, reported MLive. The budget will continue spending funds in the School Aid Fund on Higher Education. In addition, the Senate did not pass the governor’s recommendations on weighting formulas that would have given more money for expensive-to-educate students.

    Trustee Adel Mozip said he has contacted a few state representatives who sit on the Appropriations Committee regarding the education budget and coming up with a compromise to Whitmer’s proposal.

    “I urge all of the residents and my colleagues to join me in doing that kind of outreach work, and hopefully, we can get the state representatives to realize and understand that we’re the dead last state in funding public education and that needs to change,” he said. “Public education is the backbone of society, and if we’re not going to fund it right, we’re really cheating our next generation.”

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