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APS board to decide on preschool, kindergarten & sports

Submitted by on April 15, 2010 – 6:12 amNo Comment

The time has come for the Alpena Public Schools Board of Education to make tough choices on preschool, kindergarten and athletics.

In short, the board’s finance committee Wednesday, agreed to cut funding for the Plaza Pool, keep preschool, reduce the kindergarten program and trim $133,000 from the athletics budget. 

The district was originally facing an estimated budget shortfall of approximately $4-million for the 2010-11 school year.  In addition to closing two elementary schools, staff cuts, early retirements and other moves, the district still needs to trim about $2.7-million or use most of its depleted fund balance to make ends meet.

A recommendation to stop paying utilities at the Plaza Pool would save the district roughly $50,000.  Reducing kindergarten to 4 full days would save another $250,000.  The finance committee also agreed to cut $133,000 out of athletics by eliminating the golf, tennis and swimming teams.  All junior high and freshman sports would be eliminated with the exception of junior high track, which is relatively inexpensive to operate and has the highest participation rate. 

For those sports that are cut, coaches would be able to save their team by holding fundraisers or reducing costs or a combination of the two.  A proposed county-wide youth and recreation millage, if passed by voters, might also help the cause.

As for preschool…the State of Michigan may allow schools to re-purpose those monies.  That means districts would not be required to spend the money on preschool.  The finance committee, on a split vote, was opposed to re-purposing, in effect meaning it wants to provide preschool if state funding is available. 

All of the budget saving moves will be discussed and possibly voted on when the full board meets Monday.