Lansing school board cutting millions from budget

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – The Lansing school board unanimously voted through their budget for the 2015-2016 school year Thursday afternoon.

To have some money left in the district’s rainy day fund board members had to vote through some serious cuts.

“We had to do some severe budget cutting.”

Not enough students and not enough money. That’s why the Lansing School District is making million dollars of cuts in next year’s budget.

“Unfortunately like every other district in the state we’re facing a lot of the same issues including declining enrollment and increased costs whether it’s healthcare retirement or fuel,” said Peter Spadafore, school board president.

The district has been fighting deficits for the past few years. In 2013 they had a $7 million deficit.

That deficit went down to $3.5 million the next year, but for 2016 they’re hoping to flip that number into a surplus of $108,000.

But that surplus comes at a cost, cutting $5 million in staffing.

“We needed to lay off about 53 people in order to make sure our numbers of staff were equal to what our enrollment projection is,” said Yvonee Caamal Canul, superintendent, Lansing School District.

Out of the 900 teachers now employed by the school system, 27 have already announced their retirement, leaving the jobs of about 20 teachers up in the air.

But it’s not an end, all say all, the district will know the final number of teachers retiring by July and have a better idea of the number of students.

“If we’re fortunate and we increase our student enrollment we’ll of course be calling many of our laid off teachers back.”

One thing not in the district’s budget is projected profits from selling several different properties owned by the district.

The board president says that money is not sustainable for operating costs year to year and will be placed in a separate fund.

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