I wanted to take a moment and address concerns about funding expressed by previous letter writers. I will be reiterating what the superintendent of the district has already shared about district finances, but apparently it needs to be repeated.
In the fiscal year 08-09 Gov. Granholm slashed the districts 20j funds, this equaled $189.00 per pupil, that same year foundation allowance decreased by $147.00 per pupil. In fiscal year 09-10 foundation allowance was cut by $154.00 per pupil, in 10-11 it was $170.00 per pupil and in 11-12 it was $300.00 per pupil equaling a cut of $6.5 million in funding to Grosse Pointe Public School district.
As a district, adjustments and tough choices had to be made, the district staff stepped up and took pay cuts totaling 8.1% of their pay and are now paying 20% of their healthcare benefits. These are sacrifices that have been made to keep this district financially healthy. These are not easy cuts to take. Class size has remained stable and programs have not been cut, but technology needs were not seen as a priority at this time, and were not addressed.
Current fund equity is at $2 million, at the end of the fiscal year it will be $4.2 million. The district is forecasting a fund equity balance of $6.4 million in fiscal year 14-15 and $8.4 million at the end of 15-16. The ability to increase fund equity is due to district staff taking pay cuts, it is not because foundation allowance was increased. These dollars come directly from our staff.
Questions have been raised about the sinking fund, this is a tightly regulated fund directed by the state as to what can be paid for out of these funds. There is a 20 year plan in place for the maintenance of the districts historic buildings, these include but are not limited to, roof replacement, parking lot paving, bathroom upgrades etc. sinking fund money cannot be used to pay for classroom supplies, teacher salaries, or new computers. The bond expert did indicate that wiring could be replaced using sinking fund money, but then repairs to buildings would need to come from the general fund, which would then remove funding from the classroom.
Judy Gafa - treasurer of the Grosse Pointe Public Schools