(Chelsea Update would like to thank Crystal Hayduk for the information in this story. With the launch of Dexter Update, I have conflicting meetings with the Dexter Village Council and the Chelsea District Board of Education, so please welcome Crystal as the Chelsea Board of Education meeting reporter for Chelsea Update.)
The Chelsea School District Board of Education approved the amended budget at Monday evening’s, Feb. 25, meeting, as presented by Teresa Zigman, executive director of business and operations.
Zigman explained that based on expected retirement rates and the promise that they would “hold steady,” the original budget reflected the need to use nearly $300,000 from the district’s fund equity account. But retirement rates increased, from 24.46 percent to a high of 27.37 percent for four months, and will end the year at 25.74 percent.
The changes are costing the district almost another $300,000, bringing the total drain on the fund equity to nearly $600,000.
Zigman said that as long as any part of the retirement rates remain uncapped, the costs to each school district will continue to increase. The rates are the percentage of district employees’ salaries that is paid into the state’s retirement system.
Superintendent Andy Ingall said despite the increased amount of money that will be used from the fund equity to balance the district’s budget for the year, there will still be 19 percent left at the end of the school year. The district’s goal was to stay at or above 18 percent.
According to Ingall, with several sources of funding decreasing or evaporating in the next year or two, balancing the budget will continue to be a challenge. Possible reductions in funding at the federal level could impact the district as early as next fall.