The school board approved the staffing cuts at its Monday night meeting, but members expressed regret at having to do so.
“We’re being forced to do it,” Trustee Carl Treutler said. “We don’t have any choice.”
He said the school district couldn’t afford to move money around because the district doesn’t have the money to move.
The district’s proposed budget projects that the district will deplete its savings fund from $9.3 million at the beginning of its 2011-12 fiscal year to $4.1 million at the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year. This is the minimum savings amount that’s allowed, as previously set by board members.
“Our rainy day has come,” said Donna Bylenga, director of business services for Grand Haven schools.
School board President Chris Houghtaling countered by saying the district is in the “eye of the storm.” He said the district worked hard to not have to cut jobs, but now the time has come.
“It’s painful,” Houghtaling said.
Several board members said they are upset that the state Legislature has not increased per-pupil funding from 2005-06 levels, and questioned legislators’ understanding of the needs of schools and priorities.
Treutler said it appeared as though the state would “rather build a bridge to Canada” than pay for the education of children in Michigan. His message to legislators:
“Do your job. Do what we elected you to do.”
To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.