Suttons Bay Public Schools Facing Major Budget Shortfall

A northern Michigan school district with big decisions to make about handling a big budget shortfall.

Suttons Bay Public Schools says a decrease in funding from their virtual school operation is to blame, and now jobs are on the line.

The district is trying to make sure classrooms aren't impacted and services aren't reduced.

But something will have to give due to the large amount of money they need to make up.

“We have refused to settle for just doing a basic operation, and so the way we've been handling that is we've gone out after revenue,” explains Superintendent Michael Murray.

That revenue has come from the virtual, or online, school market, which the Superintendent says hasn't been as reliable as they would have liked.

“When you go out into a volatile market, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and right now we're in mid-year and we're seeing that numbers didn't materialize the way we had expected them to.”

Numbers so far indicate the school district is looking at a budget shortfall of more than $770,00, and now jobs are at stake. 

“What we're really looking at is we can make some cuts to get through the end of this year, we've got some plans in place, we're taking a look at selling off a building that we're not using but those are short term things,” says Murray.

Long term plans include looking at state funding for students, or the possibility of joining another local school system. No matter what solution they end up with, Murray is confident in the district and keeping the students' best interests first and foremost.

“We've managed to come through in these hard times before, and we're looking at doing it again.”

The school anticipates many parents will have questions on the budget, they are holding a Community Forum tomorrow night at the high school at 7 PM.

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