By Jeff Salisbury firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wayland school board will conduct itsr second of three March board meetings focusing on the 2015-16 budget – in this case, a 6 p.m. work session tonight at the Administration offices.
Last week, readers will recall, I urged the board to focusing on some very practical methods to live within its means by including an excerpt from Practicalmoneyskills.com
- Question Your Needs & Wants
- Set Guidelines
- Track, Trim & Target
And beyond that I offered three of my own suggestions:
- “Pay yourselves first” – restore the fund equity – which dipped from 15% to 7% in four years – by committing to saving 1% to 1.5% per year for AT LEAST the next 5 years.
- “No more loans” – resist the temptation to borrow more money on top of the $291,000 annual loan payments to United Bank for the science wing from 2015 to 2025… no loans for iPads, no loans for school buses – no more loans.
- “Build ONE Budget” – combining general fund (local, state and federal dollars) and Gun Lake Casino “in lieu of taxes” revenue
A test will come tonight when the board considers the “FREE” college tuition plan recently unveiled by Lake Michigan College and the Allegan Area Educational Service Agency. At its most recent meeting the Wayland school board supported it in concept without (thankfully) approving spending any money to fund the program.
I am a skeptic anyway, so almost every time I see the word FREE in front of phrase – I just know there’s going to be a “catch” – and in this case the “catch” is that while the tuition may be free for up to 10 additional WHS students, our school district will pick up the tab and take the money out of its general fund budget year-after-year-after-year, eating away more and more of each student’s local foundation allowance as they continuing being enrolled at WHS and Lake Michigan College at the same time.
According to an analysis by the Allegan County News & Gazette:
“For the first year, total cost to the district per student is estimated to be $2,522.78 or 35.41 percent of the $7,126 foundation allowance, or per pupil funding. The price includes 16 credit hours and books. The second year tuition increases to $3,630.70 or 50.96 percent of the foundation and the third year is estimated to be $41,184.60 or 58.63 percent of the state foundation allowance for 22 and 24 credit hours respectively.” (http://www.allegannews.com/allegan-news-news-union-enterprise/program-provides-free-associate-degrees-allegan-county-students)
Beyond the fact that the district simply cannot afford to fund any additional expenses – and in fact is already discussing 2015-2016 program cuts and personnel layoffs – there’s another reason not to send any MORE Wayland Union Schools dollars to Lake Michigan College. While it allows a student to enroll in a 13th year of high school – the Early College/Allegan County program is redundant.
Wayland Union Schools already fully complies with the Public Act 160 of 1996, the Postsecondary Enrollment Options Act and Public Act 258 of 2000, the Career and Technical Preparation Act, which together are known as the “Dual Enrollment” bills. These laws provide and allow students to earn college credit while in high school. According to my research, this school year (2014-15) the district set aside $45,000 worth of FREE (there’s that word again) tuition dollars taken from its local per pupil foundation allowance. Since the 2008-09 school-year the district has paid out nearly a quarter of a million dollars in tuition and fees for its students to earn college courses from at least five different West Michigan colleges — including over $30,000 to Lake Michigan College this year alone.
Dual Enrollment FREE Tuition Payouts
7-year total: $221,738.84
2014-15 – $46,043.49
2013-14 – $19,172.93
2012-13 – $29,350.00
2011-12 – $36,141.22
2011-10 – $30,818.20
2009-10 – $22,747.50
2008-09 – $37,465.00
Dual Enrollment Colleges receiving FREE Tuition Payouts 2014-15 only
1-year total: $46,043.49
- Lake Michigan College – $33,693.98
- Kellogg CC – $5,9285.51
- WMU – $3567.18
- Davenport – $3240.00
- GRCC – $3168.00
Tell the board that spending more than $45,000 on FREE tuition this year alone is plenty.
Tell the board that spending more next year on a redundant FREE college tuition program is not the way to LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS.
And if you cannot attend, write to one or more or all of the trustees below and include your thoughts on how the Wayland Union Schools should LIVE WITHIN ITS MEANS.
Tell the board:
- “Pay yourselves first” – restore the fund equity – which dipped from 15% to 7% in four years – SAVE 1% to 1.5% per year for AT LEAST the next 5 years
- “No more loans” – do not borrow more money on top of the $291,000 annual loan payments to United Bank for the science wing from 2015 to 2025… no loans for iPads, no loans for school buses – no more loans.
- “Build ONE Budget” – combine general fund (local, state and federal dollars) AND Gun Lake Casino “in lieu of taxes” revenue.Wayland Union Schools – Board of Education Meetings & Workshops
• March 16, 6:00 p.m. Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland.
• March 23, 6:00, Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland.
• April 20, 7:00 p.m., Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland.
• May 18, 7:00 p.m., Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland .
• June 8, 7:00 p.m., Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland.
• June 22, 7:00, Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland.
• July 13, 7:00 p.m., Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland.
• Nancy Thelen, President, Email: email@example.com Phone: 616-877-3098
• Tom Salingue, Vice President, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 269-792-2061
• Toni Ordway, Treasurer, Email: email@example.com Phone: 269-910-3297
• Theresa Dobry, Secretary, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 616-681-2119
• Pete Zondervan, Trustee, Email: email@example.com Phone: 616-450-1468
• Janel Hott, Trustee, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (h) 269-792-0297 (c) 269-250-0286
• Gary Wood, Trustee, Email: email@example.com Phone: 616-681-2120.