'Tough to cut ... any more’

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:39 PM

During the sparsely attended meeting, Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska shared the struggles the district faces with on-going state reductions to per-pupil funding and state requirements to expand programs such as all-day kindergarten.

Konarska said the district is considering a combined effort to balance the budget. That effort would include using $1 million from the district’s fund balance, cutting $1.84 million in staff costs and $160,000 in non-staffing efficiencies.

Showing a chart that defines the previous 10 years of per-pupil funding, Konarska pointed out the current $7,234 that the district receives per student, and explaining that it is pre-2005 funding levels.

“It really defines the situation we’re in,” he said.

As other Michigan school districts are closing early or dismantling programs, Konarska said the Grand Haven district hasn’t had to resort to those measures because they've been pro-active with previous cuts and spending.

“We’ve been so fortunate we’ve not had to do that,” he said.

While officials work to finalize a 2013-14 budget by June 30, Konarska said they won’t know the amount of staff who will be impacted until a later date. Staff evaluations will be completed at the end of May, and cuts will be based on performance instead of seniority, the superintendent said.

One parent asked how much staff payroll costs are included in the district’s overall $60 million budget.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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