H-PT school district passes budget

HOUGHTON – The Houghton-Portage Township School District approved a general fund budget of close to $11 million at Monday night’s monthly board meeting.

Total expenditures for 2013-14 are anticipated at $10,877,867, versus revenues of $10,770,249.

The fund balance at the end of the next fiscal year is estimated to be $1,186,345.

Business Manager Randy Ricchi budgeted assuming a flat enrollment of 1,375 and $7,076 per student, a $110 increase from last year. Of that, $60 is from the state foundation grant, and $50 is from a one-time equity payment.

The district plans to spend $150,000 on new technology in the coming year. Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil said it is a mix of upgrading computer labs and wireless ports, and acquiring tablets for staff.

The budget also includes a new middle-school teacher and a second special education teacher at the elementary school.

In school administration, the district budgeted for a full-time student affairs coordinator. Klingbeil said the district posted two half-day positions, but was considering making it a full-day position.

In operation and maintenance, about $100,000 was allocated for carpeting repairs. Later in the meeting, the board approved replacing carpeting in the high school and middle school hallways.

The percentage of retirement benefits on every dollar of salaries has been falling. While Ricchi originally budgeted 25.36 percent, it dropped to 24.32 percent in February. Next year’s rate makes a slight rebound to 24.79 percent.

The school service fund will include $54,000 for elementary school after-school and summer school programs.

There were no comments at a public hearing on the budget prior to Monday’s meeting.