By Courtney Culey
Bath-DeWitt Connection staff writer
Bath Community Schools face an $810,000 budget deficit for the 2011-2012 due to cuts made by the Michigan State Legislature.
Superintendent Jake Huffman said education is the number one priority. Despite the large deficit, school officials are doing their best to avoid hindering the students’ educational experience.
“Every district in the state took a significant hit this school year because of the decisions our state legislators felt they needed to make,” Huffman said. “Our district is actually in very good shape due to the hard work of board members, teachers, administrators, and staff members.”
Huffman said the board has been working since April to cut expenses and are continuing to do so.
As of May, Huffman said the board approved $488,000 of cuts and reductions.
Those cuts included the layoff of six teachers, and 10 other employees faced a reduction of hours, including central office staff, custodians, teachers and aides, Huffman wrote on the district’s website, www.bathschools.net. The district also cut $33,000 in curriculum spending.
“Despite these fiscal challenges, I know our staff will continue to offer a high quality education to our community,” Huffman said.
Sam Bachelor, Bath School Board President said, “Our greatest challenge is to assure that these changes stay as far away as possible from our primary mission; providing the best educational opportunity possible within our fiscal constraints,” via email.
If the school district is able to meet practice requirements set by the state of Michigan, Huffman said, the district will receive $100 per student and that will help cut the deficit to $200,000.
“I am confident that we will still have a healthy fund balance at the end of the 2011-2012 school year,” Huffman said.
Because of the cuts made by the board, Huffman said, they have been able to reinstate one full time teacher and two part time teachers.
“It is unfortunate that a by-product of this years’ cuts resulted in the layoff of three teachers that we will be unable to call back,” he said.