State pushes back aid transfer

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:03 PM

The amended State School Aid Act, signed into law last month by Gov. Rick Snyder, allows per-pupil funding to follow students to the districts they transfer to during a school year. The amount of money distributed to each of the school districts would be prorated by how much a particular student attends their schools during the year.

Previously, schools participated in two official Count Days — one in the fall and the other in February — that became blended together and adjusted for full-time equivalents.

The state’s Department of Education informed schools late last week that the effective date of the State School Aid Act would be pushed back to the next school year.

Donna Bylenga, the business director for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, explained that each school will now have to keep track of students entering or leaving the district, but the state has yet to clarify how to report the information.

Although a formula will be used to calculate how many days the student was in the district, it remains unclear if the blended counts are eliminated or remain in place and adjusted.

Depending on how schools are required to submit reports, Bylenga said that could impact the crafting of a district's annual budget.

“Now we would not know the revenue until the very last day of school,” she said.

The state aid accounts for the majority of the funding for public schools, paying for day-to-day operations such as staff wages and other personnel costs, and transportation, said Spring Lake Superintendent Dennis Furton.

Although the details for reporting student transfers has yet to emerge, Furton said the change in funding doesn’t raise concerns because the amount of students moving into or leaving the Spring Lake district is about even.

“We don’t see a significant amount of movement after the start of school,” he said.

Grand Haven Superintendent Keith Konarska said the change could be favorable for the district because the history of Grand Haven Area Public Schools shows they bring more students into the district. However, he said there are still uncertainties until the state clarifies the new act.

“Until we see what that looks like, it’s hard to determine the impact,” Konarska said.

Blended student count:

Grand Haven Area Public Schools

2008-09 – 5,945.00

2009-10 – 5,893.66

2010-11 – 5,947.61

2011-12 – 5,962.41

2012-13 – 6,085.63

Spring Lake Public Schools

2008-09 – 2,407.11

2009-10 – 2,414.62

2010-11 – 2,437.28

2011-12 – 2,472.29

2012-13 – 2,471.07

State school aid funding per students:

Grand Haven Area Public Schools

2008-09 - $7,704

2009-10 - $7,704

2010-11 - $7,704

2011-12 - $7,234

2012-13 - $7,234

Spring Lake Public Schools

2008-09 - $7,350

2009-10 - $7,196

2010-11 - $7,180

2011-12 - $6,880

2012-13 - $6,966

Source: Spring Lake Public School and Grand Haven Area Public Schools

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