State Aid Funding, Student Count Up In DCS Fall Budget Amendment

Members of the Dexter Board of Education unanimously (6-0, Kipke absent) approved the 2015-16 November budget amendment, which had been reviewed by the Finance Committee on November 19.

“It’s more favorable than the budget passed in June because our student count was better than anticipated,” said Board Trustee Julie Schumaker.

Among the key parameters included in the budget amendment are:
-State Foundation allowance $7,693, which is a $124 increase from 2014-15.
-Student count 3,550, which is an increase of 3 FTE. A decrease of 26 from 2014-15 had been planned.
-New State categorical Hold Harmless Guarantee of $135,789 (approx. $38 per student), based on the guarantee that each district increases $25 per pupil with the changes in other State categoricals.

The full list of key parameters along with other budget-reated information for the district is available at

In other financial news, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed its ‘AA’ underlying rating on Dexter Community Schools giving it a stable outlook.

The rating reflects Standard & Poor’s view of the Dexter school district’s:
-Access to a diverse employment base and the Ann Arbor, Michigan economic area.
-Extremely strong market value per capita and very strong income levels.
-Stable enrollment trend.
-Very strong general fund reserves.

The district’s taxable value has grown slightly every year for the past four years, and the most recent market value of $2.8 billion is a 8.6 percent increase from the prior year. On a per capita basis, market value is extremely strong at $138,535.

The district has experienced flat enrollment since the 2007-2008 school year. Enrollment for the 2015-2016 academic year is 3,536, a .3 percent decline from the prior year.

The report states that the district’s finances are stable given significant committed general fund reserves. For the current fiscal year, the district adopted a general fund deficit of $618,000, which is less than 2 percent of the budget.

The district maintains a sizable committed reserve within its general fund, which the board builds up with the intention of spending it on specific purposes, including instruction equipment, retirement costs, facilities and technology.

The district participates in the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System, a statewide, cost-sharing multi-employer defined-benefit retirement plan that includes post-employment health care benefits. For fiscal 2014, the district contributed $6.1 million toward pension benefits, which accounted for 11 percent of total general fund expenditures.

Standard & Poor’s stated: “We considers Dexter Community Schools’ financial management practices “standard” under our financial management assessment (FMA) methodology, indicating the finance department maintains adequate policies in some, but not all, key areas. The FMA was revised to “standard” from “good” due to our understanding that the district does not have an up-to-date capital improvement plan.

The stable outlook reflecs Standard & Poor’s anticipation that the district will maintain at least strong reserves and continue to operationally produce near-balanced results.

Standard and Poor’s stated: “We believe the district’s stable enrollment trend will allow the district to achieve these results. We do not anticipate changing the rating within the two-year outlook timeframe.”

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1 Comment

  • I hope that DCS will quickly address the issues that Standard and Poors identified that downgraded the DCS rating from Good to Standard. Is that major? No.

    But significant none the less when key areas are identified which are less than adequate…namely not having an up to date capital improvement plan. With over 100 million dollars in bond monies leveraged by the community, it is disappointing that the district does not have the wherewithal at the leadership level on the board and admin to put this great community in a position to be rated at least Good.

    What a financial windfall that the district went from of projecting a loss of $11 per student to getting an additional $124 per student.

    Similar thing happened almost two years ago after DCS was projecting a huge deficit; to then getting almost 2 million more from the state. I recall asking Schumaker about the huge swing two years ago a meeting and she said she had no idea. Schumaker is the chair of the Finance Committee!

    Well then, can she explain why the district renegotiated health benefits to the teachers which increased the districts cost by almost 1 million dollars? Or why the district will have needed to borrow an additional $25 million to help pay off the bond debt?

    Doubt it.

    We just hear the same narrative that the district is losing money, …bad, bad, state and that we need to support groups such as E4DS who are blindly accepting the DCS narrative.

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