HOLLY, Michigan - Now is not the time for finger pointing and/or wagging one’s finger at the governor or the legislators. Now is the time for some consensus on the depth of the financial chasm in the state and then what needs to be done to correct the situation. If all that is done is a Band-Aid or short term “solution” for this current set of scenarios, then I fear we all will be discussing these same issues at this time next year.
How do the recent reductions impact the Holly Area Schools district? I had hoped that no mid-year reductions/adaptations/accommodations would be needed? That thought was based on the $165 dollar per pupil reduction. Given that the state is not even at the end of the first month of its fiscal year, coupled with the additional $127 per pupil reduction announced by the governor yesterday, I fear I have no choice but to look at mid-year reductions. Why?
Let’s use 3845 students for our enrollment. Simplistically, multiply 3,845 by $165 dollars. The answer is $634,425. Let’s multiply 3,845 by an additional $127 dollars. The answer is $488,315. Together, the total dollar reduction is $1,122,740.
The Holly school district’s fiscal year is now in its fourth month. With the state’s revenue continuing to drop each month, I can only assume that another proration will be on the forefront later this year. Current projections for the 2010-2011 school year include a reduction in foundation allowance from $300-$500 a student. With the falling housing prices in Oakland County, our PA-18 allocations (Oakland County special education millage) will continue to drop as well.
Our school district has no means to replenish these dollars. The “bottom line” is very simple: our school district cannot continue to do all the services and programs that it currently offers now.
I will begin meeting with our various school faculty members on Monday, Oct. 26. I will schedule additional meetings with our support staff members. I will be hosting a community forum on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Karl Richter Campus in our board room. If needed, we will move to the KRC auditorium. These meetings will occur to garner staff and community input on budget and services.
Already, some Oakland County school districts have deficit budgets. I want our district to avoid that distinction if at all possible. My philosophy has not changed on budget: our school district cannot get out of this quagmire through continued reductions. At some point, the legislature and governor must work together, agree on realistic budget numbers, and offer a budget with which we can plan our school year. They must work on a restructuring plan that more effectively meets the needs of school systems as well as cities, villages, townships, higher education, law enforcement, and fire departments.
Substantive discussions must occur no matter what one’s political affiliation is. I look forward to the next few weeks as the legislature and governor work together (I hope) for a plan that will work. Thanks so much for reading these short thoughts.