The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Ontonagon discusses school budgets


July 1, 2020


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Ontonagon — Finances and budgets were heavily on the minds of the Ontonagon Area Board of Education Monday as they conducted both a public hearing on the budget and the annual meeting.

The board faced the difficult task of submitting a balanced budget to the state by Tuesday. The state  will not have its own budget — which would tell the district how much money the state will distribute — until as late as this fall.

Superintendent Jim Bobula said state officials have indicated it has a $1.2 billion shortfall and local districts could expect cuts in the per student foundation funding anywhere from $500 to $1,000 each.

“We hope it wont come to that,” Bobula said. “This is very difficult.” With the three-year average, Ontonagon will be paid on 268.85 students and expects a loss of 10 students.

In the public budget electronic hearing, business manager Linda Karttunen projected revenue of $2,831,430 and expenditures of $3,280,150. Board member Julie Kolpack said while the state is  concerned about inner-city school systems, they should also consider rural schools.

“We suffer as much as inner-city schools, with these kinds of cuts,” Kolpack said.

In addition to the cuts expected in this year’s budget, the school districts are expected to give back to the state $650 per student from the budget last school year. “This is the biggest amount cut since 2011, and then we had to respond with all kinds of staff and program cuts that year,” Bobula said, adding this cut wipes out nearly all the fund balance.

When the budget hearing was over, the board held the annual meeting. A number of boiler plate items were approved including holding the monthly meetings at 5:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month, school fund depositories, and adoption of the current policy handbook.

The board also renewed a two-year contract with Bobula, and a one-year contract with Karttunen, with the financial aspects of the contract to be negotiated in the fall.

The board also authorized contracts for business services assistant Becky Pantti, building and brounds supervisor Bob Clerk, bus driver and transportation supervisor George Truscott, dean of students Jon Uotila, athletic director Ken Routheaux, volleyball coach Kacie Ludin, and assistant football coach Leo Rasmus.

Bobula said he was “excited” to move on with the Fab-Lab in Ontonagon. He said some costs will be taken out of the sinking fund, with other costs from Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District reimbursement. “The program will open a whole new program for students,” he said, with 3-D printer, cutter, laser engraver and more. “A program is hooked up to the computer and then the item is cut to those specifications.”

Bobula said the governor is expected in a news conference this week to discuss when the schools can open. He said he has heard that areas will open at different times.

In other action, the board:

—Accepted the resignation of board member Becky Bramlett and thanked her for the one and one-half years she served on the board.

—Heard that Bob Graham received the bid for lawn care, and bids for bakery and dairy are due by 3 p.m. July 15.

—The athletic “dead” period set by the state is July 2-5.


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