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District » School Planning

School Planning



There is a lot to be proud of in the Alma Center – Humbird – Merrillan School District, such as the fact that our elementary school has achieved an "Exceeds Expectations” ranking on the state’s School Report Card for the past eight years.


Our District has worked hard in the past year reviewing their budget and exploring options to improve operating efficiencies to address an operating budget deficit.


School Operations Funding Challenges


School districts receive the majority of their funding from the state. The largest portion of this funding, which comes from the basic general education formula, has not kept up with inflation, resulting in many school districts across the state facing significant budget challenges.


For the past four years, the District has received additional ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funding through the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, but this funding has now ended, and the District is now projecting an annual operating deficit of $300,000.


In order to balance the budget, the District will need to secure a voter-approved operating referendum or will be forced to make cuts to programs and daily expenses.


To reduce expenses the District could do one or more of the following:


  • Eliminate or reassign teaching and support staff positions
  • Increase class sizes
  • Reduce department budgets
  • Reduce or eliminate student programs, including class offerings

The District has also identified the most urgent facility maintenance projects that need to be addressed. These projects would be completed using the operational funding: 


  • The two roof sections over the Junior/Senior High School gym are beyond their service life and need to be replaced.
  • The Junior/Senior High School gym floor is nearly 50 years old. Due to its age, the gym floor can no longer be refinished and is in need of replacement.
  • Portions of the elementary school cooling system require upgrades to provide dehumidification.
  • The elementary playground is in need of updates to improve safety and accessibility.
  • The District’s technology infrastructure needs to be updated to meet current demands and ensure all classrooms have adequate access to support student learning.

The proposed 4-year, $745,000 operating referendum will not increase the property tax mill rate for the Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan School District taxpayers


The Need for Additional Community Childcare


The District has heard from many members of the community that there is a need for additional childcare. The District has engaged with local childcare providers to explore partnership opportunities to better support area families. Together, they have developed a plan that would add childcare space at the elementary school. This would increase the number of childcare slots available for area families.


By connecting with families with young children, the District is able to showcase the Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan School District and the programs and services offered. The District wants to be the school district of choice when families decide where to enroll their children. Student enrollment is critical to the District’s operating budget, as state funding is tied to the number of students the District serves.


This project would need to be funded through a voter-approved, capital referendum. Due to the effective financial planning of the District, Alma Center-Humbird-Merrillan voters could also support a capital referendum to complete the 96-child capacity child care addition WITHOUT increasing the tax mill rate.


The childcare addition project can be completed for $5.19 million.
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