Muskegon Heights charter school budget assumes more students and state money

Jul 15, 2012

The school board for the new charter school system in Muskegon Heights will likely adopt a preliminary budget Monday.  

Muskegon Heights schools’ emergency manager hired a for-profit charter school company to run the public school system for the next five years.

An attorney for the school board says Mosaica Education drafted the budget the school board will consider approving Monday. It's likely the budget will be amended throughout the school year if needed.

The budget includes a couple of optimistic assumptions. Budget documents show Mosaica expects student enrollment to increase – from 1,368 students last year (down to 1,299 in the spring 2012 count) to 1,434 this year. The company expects student enrollment to go up each year after that too.

More than 160 students have applied to transfer out of the district this summer through school of choice.  

The budget also assumes per pupil funding from the State of Michigan will increase each of the next five years, despite an overall decline during the last decade. Although per pupil amounts vary by school district, the declines have leveled off recently.

The new Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System has no debt or deficit. The budget assumes there will be a little more than $7,000 in the charter academy system’s general fund at the end of the school year next year.

The public school district will use revenue from local taxes to pay down the deficit long term. MHPS has more than a $12 million deficit.

The emergency manager has so far declined to say how much money the district is paying Mosaica; the management agreement the charter academy board approved last week hasn’t been made public yet, pending state approval. Emergency Manager Don Weatherspoon issued the order last week.

Preliminary budget documents show $10.7 million of the $14 million dollar budget for the charter academy would be spent on “purchased services." There’s $1.7 million in the budget for “purchased repairs/maintenance/rental services” and $1.6 million for supplies. There’s another half a million spent on “other expenditures” and capital outlay for elementary instruction.

After the budget hearing at 4 p.m. Monday, the district will host a “unity meeting” at 5:30 that evening in the high school auditorium to give parents information and rally the community behind the change.