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Millage approval could halt APS budget deficit

December 17, 2012
Emily Siegmon - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ALPENA - Diane Block, assistant superintendent for operations and Title I director, did not bring a budget amendment to the Alpena Public Schools Board of Education on Monday, which is typical for this time of year because APS is headed toward deficit. However, she said the due diligence committee has started the process of deficit elimination planning and researching strategies and initiatives to address the end of the year budget deficit.

"The enhancement millage vote is scheduled in February. It could be a path toward deficit elimination," she said.

Block said the board could not adopt an incomplete budget with unknowns, but she said the due diligence committee is working on larger points in deficit elimination planning.

"Due diligence met last week. We have two paths, one if the millage passes and another if it doesn't," she said. "Our deficit elimination plan will change significantly if the millage passes ... but our present situation will be deficit."

Block said she will have budget amendments to the board with traditional adjustments for pupil count, APS lost 64 students, which will affect its budget along with retirement costs and other changes in its budget that was adopted in June.

"The millage is on the horizon, and negotiations will be on the horizon soon," she said. "We also had a cash flow conversation during the finance committee meeting. A number of districts, over 50, are struggling. Declining enrollment is a significant factor that could push us over the edge. However, if we continue borrowing money and have cash flow there's no reason we'd close doors."

The budget amendment will be presented at a later time due to requirements for deficit districts, and the outcomes of the enhancement millage which will be on the Feb. 26 ballot.

"We're feeling at the whim of legislators," she said. "It's very frustrating to keep your eye on the ball when your targets a moving target."

In other business:

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



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