ISHPEMING - After being under a state-mandated deficit elimination plan since 2008 and making its way back from a total deficit of $510,000, the Ishpeming Public Schools is ending 2011012 budget year with a fund balance of $4,070.
The 2012-13 budget approved by the school board is projected to add another $154,711 to that fund balance, helping the district to re-establish its financial stability. The action to amend the current year budget and approve next year's budget came at a special meeting Friday morning.
"The board made some really difficult decisions over the past few years," Superintendent Stephen Piereson said, citing staff reductions, contract negotiations, contracting out custodial services and the closure of the C.L. Phelps Middle School that have taken place since 2008. "We had many people here tell you no, you can't do that. But you made those difficult decisions to make this budget move in the positive direction."
The district ends the current budget year with $7.51 million in revenues and $7.26 million in expenditures, with the surplus eliminating the remainder of the district's shortfall. For 2012-2013, the board approved $7.5 million in revenues and $7.348 million in expenditures.
In July of 2013, the district is projected to have a fund balance of $158,781, meaning it will no longer be required to file a deficit elimination plan with the state each year, a requirement that included monthly budget reports.
"I would personally like to say thank you to (business manager) Mr. (Anthony) Bertucci and (Superintendent) Dr. Piereson," board President Geno Maino said. "Tons of work on this."
Since 2008, the district has eliminated $1.142 million worth of expenditures from its budget to erase that deficit.
"The board will try to maintain a solid fund balance," Piereson said of the budgeting process moving forward. "It's a very difficult time for all public entities."
Also at Friday's meeting, the board approved creation of a self-funded girls fast-pitch softball team.
Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-486-4401. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.