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Enrollment, state decisions play role in APS finances

November 23, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Diane Block, Alpena Public Schools assistant superintendent for operations and Title I director, said the school is facing issues that are not entirely controllable. She said decisions made by the state have a significant impact on school funding and budgets, particularly in the last few years with high decreases in state and federal aid.

"There has been a 37 percent drop in enrollment since Proposal A has been in place," Block said. "We are in trouble and we need to find solutions."

According to Block, APS enrollment history shows an average loss of 3.06 percent of students over the last five years. The 2012-13 entry and withdraw summary shows 298 students enrolling at APS, with 200 students withdrawing.

"We're working through the system looking at different options and avenues, such as the enhancement millage, to move forward," Block said.

The board approved the 2011-12 audit Monday, with an estimated ending fund balance of $1,070,904. Superintendent Brent Holcomb said the district is facing financial difficulties, but is facing budget issues openly and the best way possible.

"There is a shortfall in the general fund," Mark Sandula, CPA for Straley, Ilsley & Lamp P.C., said. "You don't have a lot of money going into 2013. Paying bills may be difficult without borrowing money."

Holcomb said future financial planning strategies include the regional enhancement millage proposal that will be placed on the Feb 26, 2013, and staff negotiations. However, he said cuts are not under consideration.

"To repeat Black Friday isn't an option, it would be a death to our district," Holcomb said. "Yes, we have a problem, but we're dealing as best as we can."

During last month's meeting, the board discussed the enhancement millage, believing the millage money would allow APS to continue to operate. With millage funding, APS will consider purchasing buses, textbooks, providing professional development, restoring elementary libraries, updating technology, and maintenance of its facilities.

Emily Siegmon can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5687.



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