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Mid-September or later before schools know how much money they'll get from the state

a classroom of empty colorful chairs
Flickr user Frank Juarez
Creative Commons http://j.mp/1SPGCl0
Cuts are in the works for Michigan's K-12 public schools.

School districts will be looking for some hints as the state’s budget experts and economists try to forecast state revenues.

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crash mean cuts are ahead for schools.

Jennifer Smith is the Director of Government Relations for the Michigan Association of School Boards. She says school districts are planning as best as they can with all the uncertainty.

“A lot of our districts have passed multiple versions of a budget that take into account different levels of cuts,” she explained.

The one thing schools need to keep in mind is that the damage that’s been done to the economy will still be felt next year and maybe years after that.

“Some districts will have fund balances that they may be able to use part of, but we can't have them relying completely on those either because that's a one-time fix. So it's definitely not an easy place to be,” Smith said.

Monday's Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference will give legislators a better idea of what the economy will do to the state budget. Smith says then it’s a matter of waiting until the state finalizes the School Aid Fund numbers.

“Which we don't expect until probably mid-September,” Smith speculated.

The state associations which advise school district are all warning the schools to be as conservative as they can with their budgets.

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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