Utica Community Schools adopts 2017-2018 budget

The Utica Community Schools Board of Education has unanimously adopted the 2017-2018 budget that maintains programs and services as the district addresses the long-term impact of state aid increases not matching inflationary rates. 

“Through the careful management of our resources, the district has adopted a functional budget that will maintain programs for our 28,000 students,” said Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns. “We are committed to working with state lawmakers to address how the current formula redistributes funding without first addressing inflationary costs for all districts.”

The $280.1 million budget adopted by the Board of Education will take effect July 1. 

“The unanimous action by the Board ensures our district meets its legal obligation to have a budget in place before the start of the new fiscal year,” Board President Gene Klida said. 

The majority of revenue for UCS – approximately 82 percent – is based on state aid, which has not yet been finalized by the lawmakers for the 2017-2018 school year. 

The State of Michigan currently uses a 2X formula to allocate funding to Michigan school districts and charter schools, where lower funded, minimum foundation districts have received up to seven times more in revenue growth than UCS. 

As a result, UCS has received an increase of only $60 per pupil over the past 10 years – or an average of $6 per pupil each year. This represents a growth of less than one percent. During the same period, the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation, has grown by nearly 20 percent. 

District officials also remain concerned about the redirection of school aid funding to community colleges and universities. This year, almost $634 million has been redirected from K-12 schools to support higher education costs.

The per pupil revenue level for UCS is expected to be at $7,777. The rate is below the district’s funding level prior to the 2011-2012 school year, when lawmakers approved a $470 per pupil cut. UCS is among a select number of districts that have not had the full funding restored to its previous level by state lawmakers. 


 



 
“This community is very concerned with the redirection of school funding by state lawmakers without first addressing the historic impact of revenue growth being well below inflation,” said Board Treasurer Dr. Robert Ross. 

The majority of district expenditures – 80 percent – are directed toward classrooms and teachers. The district’s allocation to support classrooms is three percent higher than the regional average. The expenditures include all current programs and services for UCS students. 

The budget reflects adjustments that include the elimination of vacant positions, the consolidation of positions, elimination of costs related to maintaining a vacant elementary school that was recently sold, and a transfer of revenue from the community education programs to support operating costs. 

The budget takes effect on July 1, 2017. In addition to the general fund budget, the Board of Education also adopted 2017-2018 special revenue, debt service and capital project funds budgets.