Monday Moan: Brace yourselves for trouble with school state funding

By Jeff Salisbury

I spotted a notice oJeff Salisbury Art_2nline this weekend that there will be a special Wayland school board meeting — a committee-of-the-whole (that means all seven members) — at 6 p.m. Monday Feb. 16, at the Administration Building. There will also be a work session at 5:30 p.m. Monday Feb. 23, at the Admin.

Why attend? Because the news coming out of Lansing following Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposed budget for public schools is dismal at best and because we need to make sure administrators start giving board members their very best financial advice to weather the coming storm.

The financial news coming out of Lansing is dismal at best. To weather this “storm,” districts are really going have to do some belt-tightening. The good news is… WUS has casino revenue… The bad news is… WUS has casino revenue. The board and administration better learn how best to manage that revenue sooner rather than later.

Cuts are coming. They just cannot be helped and the board will need to set some priorities. My guess is both meetings will be budget related, both this current school year and next — casino money usage, summer preventative maintenance projects, fund equity, iPads, superintendent contract, and the governor’s budget, which was just released and looks dreadful for WUS and the whole of Michigan public schools.

This week I read the best analysis of what school can expect and the predicament in which districts will find themselves, written by former WUS administrator David Britten, now superintendent at Godfrey Lee Schools –

At the state level, the cuts won’t start in the next budget, but right now. A combination of $1.8 billion in tax cuts coupled with a series of business tax credits has created a structural deficit in tax revenue that requires the governor to issue a series of executive orders to ensure expenditures match revenues THIS budget year (ending Sept. 30), which only compounds the problem starting Oct. 1, 2015.

The Detroit News covered it well here – really worth reading –

Let your voice be heard at an upcoming board meeting.

Wayland Union Schools – Board of Education Meetings
• March 9 — Pine Street Elementary, 201 Pine Street, Wayland
• April 20 — Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland
• May 18 — Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland
• June 8 — Wayland Union Middle School, 701 Wildcat Drive, Wayland
• July 13 — Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland
• Feb. 23 — Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland (Start time 5:30 p.m.)
• March 23 — Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland
SPECIAL MEETINGS: (Scheduled as Needed)
• March 16 — 6 p.m. Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland
SPECIAL MEETING: 7 p.m. (Scheduled to follow annual budget hearing which begins at 6:45 p.m.)
• June 22 — Administration Building, 850 E. Superior, Wayland
COMMITTEE MEETINGS: (Scheduled as Needed)
• Feb. 16 — 6 p.m. Finance Committee of the Whole @ Administration Building

And if you cannot make it to a meeting or you want to put your thoughts down in writing – contact a board member:

• Nancy Thelen, President, Email:  Phone: 616-877-3098

• Tom Salingue, Vice President, Email: Phone: 269-792-2061

• Toni Ordway, Treasurer, Email: Phone: 269-910-3297

• Theresa Dobry, Secretary, Email:  Phone: 616-681-2119

• Pete Zondervan, Trustee, Email: Phone: 616-450-1468

• Janel Hott, Trustee, Email: Phone: (h) 269-792-0297  (c) 269-250-0286

• Gary Wood, Trustee, Email: Phone: 616-681-2120






  • Feb. 16 – Agenda –
    1. Casino Fund Ref. “A”
    a. Current Uses
    –Review programs offered Ref. “B”
    –Participation Ref. “C”
    –Financial impact
    b. Future Uses
    –How will Board decide direction of future use of funds
    2. Draft 2015-2016 Budget Assumptions Ref. “D”
    3. Other Board Topics
    4. Public Comment

  • From: Jeffrey L. Salisbury
    Date: Mon, Feb 16, 2015 at 8:52 PM
    Subject: well done
    To: Nancy Thelen

    Nancy I was not at the meeting very long, but I just wanted to compliment you on the comment you made about the day care subsidy…. you said the board should be reviewing the items based on an overall philosophy of educating students not whether the program is making us money or helping us recruit new students because our job is to educate the students we have not the ones we don’t… (that’s a paraphrase… but honestly I almost stood up and applauded you!)
    Well done!
    I’d expand on that and put the onus for continuing these various subsidies on that same philosophy… have Admin “sell” the board on every item as if the programs or subsidies didn’t exist and the clock was being turned back.
    And I’d follow that same philosophy you mentioned…. the board’s job is to deliver educational services to the students we have the most cost-effectively and fiscally responsible as possible.
    Again, well done.

Leave a Comment