NEGAUNEE - Applause broke out after the Negaunee school board unanimously approved its one motion during its budget work session Monday night, and while the audience was pleased with the board's decision to make limited cuts, the district could be facing the same issues next year.
The board voted unanimously to make $137,700 in cuts, using the district's fund balance to fill the remainder of the projected $1,057,000 deficit for next year.
"I'm not surprised," said Superintendent Jim Derocher. "It just puts us in a very precarious situation for next year."
The motion to make fewer cuts and use the fund balance was made by board Treasurer Martin Saari, supported by Secretary Fae Collins and unanimously approved by the board.
"It seems like the last six years, it's been doom and gloom when it comes to the budget. It doesn't give any of us great pride to be sitting up here when we get no help from the state and no help from the federal government," Saari said. "We're hearing that this year is bad, next year could be worse. We can cut through and have a patch quilt kind of deal here, impact a lot of people's lives.
"My feeling is if we have 200K in the fund balance or $490 (thousand) in the fund balance and we're looking at a million-plus deficit next year, who really cares?"
The board voted to cut the district's special education coordinator under a third-party contract ($45,563), cut a transfer to the athletic fund ($30,000), close the high school pool ($27,000 for chemicals and a part-time custodial position), cut the SHINE volunteer coordination program ($12,000) and eliminate a $23,137 transfer to the food service budget.
The pool closure takes effect July 1, after which no swim classes and no community activities will take place. The plans for the cooperative high school swim team - which incudes Negaunee, Ishpeming, Gwinn and Republic-Michigamme - will need to be worked out.
Although the board voted to only make those cuts, additional measures could have included the cutting of four teaching positions, closing of the district's media centers, eliminating kindergarten classroom aides, privatization of custodial services and eliminating the district's nurse position.