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GMR School to look at operating levy options

The Greenbush-Middle River School is going to be working in a deficit of $471,025, according to projected budget numbers, for the upcoming fiscal year. After presenting the budget numbers, GMR Superintendent Tom Jerome made this recommendation.

“We’ll have to look at an operating levy this fall, I would recommend,” he said, adding that much of this decision will be based on enrollment in the fall.  

As projected for the fiscal year 2018, the district is to receive $5,505,102 in revenue and is to pay out $5,976,127 in expenditures. This total projected revenue does take into account the two percent increase per pupil to the state’s general education formula.

The enrollment for the upcoming school year at GMR is 349, a drop of nine students from last year– equal to roughly $100,000 less in revenue to the district, based on each student generating approximately $11,000 for the district. Jerome said this enrollment is what the district has on paper– what they know of– and hasn’t yet seen any names of student who are transferring.

“Devil’s advocate, you could argue we may have fewer students than what I’m projecting,” he said.

At the April 17 board meeting following the school board’s decision to place all seventh to twelfth grade students in Greenbush and house elementary students at both sites, Josh Smith, representing a group of Middle River parents, said that parents of 102 students were looking at their options, including open enrollment. At that time, wanting the board to reconsider its decision, he said this wasn’t a threat but a likely occurrence.  

This deficit also considers various upcoming expenses, including $85,000 budgeted for a new bus, $60,000 for roof repair, and $20,000 for permanent transfers to food service, to account for the deficit in that area. The district is looking at leasing the bus for four to five years– owning it but paying for it in payments– which would increase that total number for the bus. 

As Board Chairperson Shane Kilen said, if the district is going to run an operating levy on a ballot, it would need the information to do it soon. The board directed Jerome to bring operating levy info to the board for it to examine at its July meeting. As Jerome said, the board would need to make a decision to run a levy or not by no later than August.

To see the complete board report, read the June 21 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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