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Akron - Fairgrove Schools waiting for state's plan to reopen schools
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 08:58:07 EDT
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Akron - Fairgrove School District officials - like all school districts across the state - are waiting for Governor Gretchen Whitmer to outline the plan today on schools opening. On June 17, Whitmer announced Michigan schools may resume in-person learning in phase 4 of the "MI Safe Start plan," with strict safety measures in place.
A state task force was created to develop guidelines on how school districts are supposed to do that.
The details of Michigan's Return to School Roadmap is scheduled to be released today (Tues.) as well as information on per pupil state funding is anticipated.
"At this time, we plan to have face-to-face instruction beginning on Aug. 17. Of course the date to reopen will be tempered by the governor's task force guidance when that is released," said Akron - Fairgrove School District Superintendent Diane Foster.
"We will have all the proper protocols in place as well as alternate plans in the event that online learning or a hybrid of online and face-to-face instruction needs to be put in place."
While waiting on the state for guidance, the district formed its own return-to-school committee. The 15-person committee represented all segments of the district - food service, transportation, secretaries, teachers, administration, school board, parents etc.
Committee members met online to discuss what things they think should be in place in the schools when they open.
"We are now waiting for the governor's task force guidance to see how we compare and will solidify our plan once we have those details," she said.
Along with the state's plan on schools reopening safely, districts are hoping to have a definite answer on how much per pupil state funding will be cut. It has been speculated it could be cut between $600 to $900 per student.
The district is anticipating enrollment for the 2020 - 2021 school year to be 318 students.
In developing their budget, the Akron - Fairgrove Board of Education split the difference using a revenue cut of $650 per student to develop their budget.
"If the expected reductions in revenue hold true to what we are anticipating a cut of $650, we think that will be $206,000 less revenue," said Foster.
And, if the state makes a $750 cut per student that would mean a loss of revenue of $238,500, and a cut of $900 per student funding would be a revenue loss of $286,000.
"There is also some talk that the legislature could take money from this year's budget as well. We have no idea how much that would be or if that will happen at all," said Foster.
"If revenues are reduced, the difference will be made up through salary concessions, reduction in staff, a negotiated freeze of teacher salaries."
However, there still may not be any concrete answers on funding for the schools even after the governor's update today (Tues.).
"We really have no idea this time (on funding). We are being told that we may not have anything concrete until late August or September," she noted.
By state law, school districts have to have a budget in place for the next school year before July 1.
The budget the board adopted is $4,073,245.