WIUM Tristates Public Radio

No Sacred Cows as School District Considers Cuts

Oct 3, 2013

Macomb School District Superintendent Patrick Twomey said “everything is on the table” as the district considers where it might reduce spending.

Dr. Twomey explained the district’s budget picture this week during the first of two public forums on the school system’s finances.  The forum drew about 70 people to Fellheimer Auditorium at Macomb Junior-Senior High School.

Many of our neighbors had good fund balances at one time. But they waited too long to make the decisions that we're talking about.
Credit Rich Egger

The second forum will begin at 6:00 pm on Thursday, November 7. It will also be held at Fellheimer. It will be used to accept ideas from teachers, other school employees, and the community in general regarding what might be cut.

Twomey said there should be no sacred cows - he is willing to consider any and all ideas.

“I think we have to go into this with an open mind and look at the organization as a whole,” said Twomey.

He said the education fund, which pays for teacher salaries and is the largest fund, is at its lowest balance since 2008.  He said the district will receive roughly $500,000 less than it should in general state aid, though he fears that figure could rise to more than $800,000.

In addition, the state is sharply reducing transportation funding for school districts, which hits rural districts especially hard.

Twomey feels it’s important to establish a plan now instead of waiting until the financial situation gets worse.

Patrick Twomey
Credit Rich Egger

“Many of our neighbors had good fund balances at one time. But they waited too long to make the decisions that we’re talking about,” Twomey said.

“I think if we make those decisions now, at an early stage, we will prevent a crisis from occurring at all.”

Twomey has not set a goal for how much in spending might be trimmed.

The superintendent hopes community members spend some time between now and November 7 talking about what aspects of the school district are important to them.  He said he will use the input to develop a recommendation for the Board of Education to consider.