GH Schools face $3M deficit

Grand Haven Area Public Schools are facing budget, staff reductions for 2013-14 school year.
Tribune Staff
Apr 24, 2013


As a result of on-going state funding reductions, GHAPS Superintendent Keith Konarska said the district is facing a $3 million deficit for the 2013-14 school year.
The board of education held a work session this week to review budget parameters for next school year. The information detailed approximately $81 in proposed per pupil funding reductions for this coming year, in addition to the $470 foundation allowance reduction implemented last school year.
"Over the past several years, we have been able to keep our staff employed and programs intact due to the cooperation of our employees to make contract concessions, reduce expenditures, and identify alternative revenue sources," Konarska said. "However, when the state continues to reduce funding, now at pre-2005 levels, and all but require program expansion without additional funds, we are forced to make extremely difficult decisions."
The board was asked to consider a combination approach to balancing the budget. This would include using $1 million of the district's fund balance, and making an additional $2 million in efficiencies, which will include staff reductions.
"Although we will do all we can to minimize program impact, the three funding proposals currently being discussed in Lansing makes it unlikely," Konarska added.
School Board President Chris Houghtaling also voiced frustration at the current circumstances.
"It is unfortunate that the state of Michigan has put us in this position by not adequately funding K-12 schools," Houghtaling said. "The state has the resources to restore our foundation allowance, however they refuse to do so."
In the coming weeks, Konarska will meet with employees and parents to answer questions and provide updated information.
"We have some challenging decisions to make," Houghtaling said. "I encourage our community to contact their legislators to voice their concern."



Well there goes the Custodians and you can bet that privatization is definitely on the Superintendent and School Board Members minds. Custodians are like bic disposable lighters these days don't you know. When you're done with them you merely throw them away. They did it to the 12 onboard Custodians at Spring Lake Public Schools without any conscience. Why would GHAPS be any different? It's just the livelihood of people lives we're talking about here. Does anyone really care? Of course not. It's just business and you're not to take it personal. As long as those in the higher echelon are collecting their nice fat pay checks every pay period they can rest easy and sleep well at night. Not to mention those nice pensions too.

Grand Haven Happy

Very simple! Either the total school paid custodians are competitive in total GHAPS yearly costs now and theknown future with a private custodial company's written contract or they are not! If not, a change should/must be made and quick. Very simple math! Why pay more for an identical service, item, or something than it costs at another place? Would you pay even 10% more for the very same car or house or clothes or even food, etc than what another store etc charges for the identical item or service just because the higher priced venue has a higher overhead costs? I think NOT! Intelligent people sure don't and won't! Competitive or bye bye! WSorse yet is that it's taxpayer's dollars being wasted and way past time to think and make some smart decisions.

BTW, I have nothing against the present custodians at all as it's really a logical monetary decision. If the present custodians will be truely competitive, keep them all as needed but a review of each one's performance and work record must be reviewed first. No different than what is the norm at any other work place or job! Maybe the best ones even deserve and will get an increase by weeding out the bad!


Easy for you to say. You obviously have never been caught up in a downsizing, outsourcing, or privatization. You still don't get it do you and you probably never will. You will never hear top administrators or teachers be willing to take a pay cut. It's always the little people at the bottom of the totem pole that have to take a whipping. Yea I know all about state budget cuts and what not and you're not telling me anything I don't already know. You say you have nothing against the present custodians but I'd bet a month of paychecks when their jobs are on the line if you would stand up to board members and administrators in any kind of open public forum to fight for their jobs. YOU only care if your bread is buttered nice and thick and that is the obvious here. You don't even know what you are talking about here. It's all psychobabble to me.


that what i thought when they built the new school, can they really afford this, now its crunch time because they are in the red, yep, its true, they always start at the bottom and look for ways to save money, 3 million not bad compared to muskegon schools they had last year, the state came in and did cleanup


We have excellent schools here in GH and you can thank the school board, teachers, staff and the administration. However their hand is being forced to continue with the cuts. AtomicRooster doesn't mention that the cuts are done by the state and the district only has so much money to work with. So yes outsourcing will most likely be looked at as will other non-union staff members and I would venture to say some teachers will also be let go. So you probably should contact your senators and ask them to fund more education. Times change, business climates change as does government's at local, state and federal levels.

Say No To Tourist's

Excellent schools here in GH?????????? Really Seriously? Racism & bullying is tolerated and nothings done to correct the problem.....

Can we say moron?


Why do you look at the negative issues? The good out weigh the bad? And the only moron is you with your name "Say no to tourists". What are you 14 years old?


Call me a moron, too. The Grand Haven school system is excellent, and I have nothing but good things to say about its staff and the education my children received here, despite a recent and isolated and overhyped schoolyard incident. No need for name calling.


Racism and bullying we've heard it all before. Can't you do any better than this?


Yea you don't see the Superintendent volunteering to take a pay cut in his overinflated salary, do you? And don't hold your breath waiting to see him do that. You'll be blue in the face first. He is above that. This public school system in Michigan stinks to high heaven and so far out of whack it isn't even funny. Very antiquated. Down in the Southern states they DO NOT have one Superintendent for ONE school district. Try like ONE Superintendent for a whole county. Cut the fat at the top of the totem pole. That's where the revenue drain really exists.


Yes, and we all know how wonderful southern schools are... In some southern states, corporal punishment is still in effect. Ah the good ol'days! Maybe we could cut teachers and impart knowledge with the paddle instead, surely it would be much cheaper!
Joking aside, GHAPS schools are actually very good and countless surveys have proven so. They are, though, administratively top heavy, and it is very unfortunate that the cuts are passed down to the staff at the schools when the district could certainly cut some of the fat off the top.


Be sure to purchase new uniforms, apparel and helmets for the football team this fall! Go Bucs!


Wishing that education was THE most important... number one... top of the list priority for the State. Argghhh! INVEST in the children and we will all be in a better place.


It's all starting to come together for Snyder and his plan for Private for profit schools.


Snyder? That is a joke and a bad one at that. Do the right thing in November 2014 and vote him out.


There are many reasons the school system has this large deficit. However to make sure this does not happen next year GHAPS must approach this the right way. This is simple economics. Every employed position, in any field, has a equilibrium point for pay. Right now teachers as well as custodians are working for well above that equilibrium point. The supply of people willing to work these positions is far greater than the demand for them. To achieve the equilibrium point we need to drop the salaries of these employees until the number of people wanting these jobs equals the number of jobs available. If we want to help our children than we must make sure our school has the ability to sustain itself, and on its current path it cannot.


Neptune, the name suits you well because obviously you are not from this planet. So easy for you to swing the axe on everyone's wages. What are you suggesting that the custodians be forced to accept minimum wage? Tell your boss when you see him/her next that you're willing to take a pay cut down to minimum wage. Yea right. Easy to dish it out but be willing to take your own medicine too.


If people are willing to do custodial work at minimum wage, which they are, then that is what the wage should be. The schools need to be run efficiently. First of all, my wages do not come from taxpayers. In the business world, wages correlate directly with what an employee does for the company. If I or any other employee is not performing efficiently, then they should be cut. And as far as bashing my name, good one. I couldn't possibly make fun of yours...


Right, because I want the lowest bidder in charge of my child all day? No.

Schools are not a business, they are a public service. You can not run them like a business, because they do not sell a "product" in the typical sense. We (taxpayers) have spent a lot of money on the buildings and grounds of the school - I want someone who knows more than an unskilled, minimum-wage worker to take care of it. We (parents) send our most valued treasures to these buildings every day to get a top notch education. I want people who are well-educated and caring to teach them. You don't get the best employees by paying the minimum. Every public school in Michigan has been facing cuts like this for the last 5+ years. Grand Haven's school board was cautious in the past and saved millions just in case there was a downturn in funding. Every year recently, they have been forced to cut wages and benefits, and also dip into that savings in order to keep providing a great school on a tight budget. Eventually, though, the money runs out.

If this were a business, many things would be done differently. However, if you ran a business that took a loss for 5-6 years, you might also close shop or adjust your pricing. That's not an option for schools. They are told by the state what money they will get, and then told what kind of services they have to provide. What do you do when those dollar amounts just don't match up?


Easy for one of the most distant planets in our solar system as your name implies here. Make sure to tell your boss on Monday you will only work for minimum wage from now on. Fat chance of that ever happening. I am sure you think you're above working for minimum wage and would be the last to volunteer to work for that wage. You don't live in the real world as again your name implies. Obviously you have never done custodial work in a public school system and don't have a clue as to what the job really entails. I have. First of all you'd better have some good sea legs because walking is a requirement for the job and be able to walk on tile/terrazzo floors which are murder on your legs. It is a very physical job that most people cannot do. I have seen people walk off the job because of the physical element of the job and simply couldn't handle it at any wage. Anyone who thinks those jobs are a walk in the park are sadly mistaken. You probably wouldn't last an hour in some of the routines that custodians have to do daily. Not to mention all the other extras they do besides cleaning. Lot more to it than cleaning toilets. Having to do setups/breakdowns of special events and meetings, being at anyone's disposal and never telling anyone NO they can't help them while they are in the middle of their routine and then have to try and get back on track. Sounds to me like you've never seen how the other half really lives. You're just a common ordinary slave driver who thinks no one should be paid an honest wage. And in your eyes everyone should be working for minimum wage except YOU. In my opinion, public school custodians are actually underpaid and have had to settle in order to keep their jobs. They have homes and families just like YOU and ALWAYS deserve better for all their hard work and efforts to keep their school clean and operating efficiently. People seem to take them for granted in what they do. They take pride in what they do and it's not just a paycheck and deserve a lot more respect.


I have noticed that the school administration has posted on the school districts web site the teacher's contract. I guess its about time we also get a peak at the Superintendents, Finance Director, and Principals saleries, and benefit packages. I understand that most of these positions have better benefit packages and don't have co-pays on their insurance benefits.


You can find all of that information here:

The benefits and insurance are usually the same for all employees, as it's more economical to have one plan. All school employees must now pay 20% of their insurance costs, regardless of which kind of employee.


You believe everything in print? You are gullible no doubt. Yea and there is no dark side of the moon really. As a matter of fact it's all dark. Top administrators pay NO CO-PAYS or deductibles and that includes the Superintendent. Why don't you ask the Superintendent if he plans to volunteer to take a pay cut in his salary? That will fall on deaf ears and you will be ignored. Don't hold your breath on that one. You'll be blue in the face first.


Just let them all squeal !! Let em all cry !!! My property tax bill is at $2,500. My wages aren't keeping up. They keep sending that rotten tax bills twice a year! TOO BAD !!! NO MORE!! NO MORE!! AS A TAXPAYER I'M FRICKEN BROKE!! AND WORKING OVERTIME!!! KISS MY POSTERIOR!! I HAVE HAD IT WITH THOSE ADMINISTRATIVE WHINERS! Go on a temp service then!!! see how you like it!! Work as a slave at Shape Corp!!!


Are you aware that, unless you own a second home, very little of your property taxes are going toward funding the schools? The vast majority of the money that schools receives comes from the state per-pupil allotment, which is funded from your sales taxes. Schools also receive an operating millage that is based on property taxes, but only for non-homestead properties.

I am a taxpayer who's also working extra hours, trying to pay the bills, and struggling to get by. However, I don't think that the schools are the right place to direct my anger and frustration.


i dont see them performing well as educators so i will direct my anger toward the school. too much money for bad result. in the long run, school of choice was a bad idea. the turn over has slid down. any parents have opted to homeschool because the quality of education there is questionable. So if the budget needs cutting, i think it should start at the top cuz we know the janitor is doing HIS job.


i dont see them performing well as educators so i will direct my anger toward the school. too much money for bad result. in the long run, school of choice was a bad idea. the turn over has slid down. any parents have opted to homeschool because the quality of education there is questionable. So if the budget needs cutting, i think it should start at the top cuz we know the janitor is doing HIS job.


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