'Tough to cut ... any more’

Grand Haven school officials and parents on Tuesday discussed the district's $3 million projected deficit for the next school year.
Krystle Wagner
May 22, 2013


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.



I have two sons that attend Grand Haven schools. I give all of my yearly donation alotment to their classrooms because I feel that if I were to write a check to GHPS it was go to pay for something like another food service employee, making $12 an hour. I would rather my children's classroom had paper, pencils, hand sanitizer, and new books than have their lunch line wait time cut back by 3 minutes. Also, I am wondering were I can find the notice on these such meetings? This is the first that I have heard of it, although I do not go out looking for the information. As a parent, I would have liked to get an email blast or a letter home with my child with details on when such meeting would be held. Thank you!


I am wanting to reply to your comments Justsayin'..I am one of the "food service" employees that you are talking about. I invite you to follow me for ONE day and see what all we do to make sure your two boys have a good healthy lunch, thanks to the food service director!! We work very hard for our 12.00 per hour wage. I am very thankful that I have a job with GHAPS and do a good job in return. We are not over staffed in any bldg. so we can save your boys 3 minutes in line. We get there and rush so that when it is their time for lunch, they may come in and get what ever their choice is. I have had 3 kids go through GHAPS and every class had paper and pencils.....Lunch is a very important element in every kids day and I work very hard so it is the best it can be for all of them.


I also, invite you to follow me throughout the day. Mine is not an easy job and I take pride in my work.
I do believe that we work hard for the kids in our community. I know that for some, the meals that we prepare are the only ones that they get in any given day. With the way the economy has been, we all have to make due with the wages we earn. We may make than you think we should, but we, too, have taxes, union dues, social security, health & disability insurances taken out. We really don't make more than we are worth......


People are in financial troubles, its impossible for some. My taxes are $2500 a year and keep climbing. People are on those Temp services with no benefits, vacation time working in a perpetual provisional status. I always vote no in those millage requests. They are just going to have to make their cuts - because some of people are just broke, going broke or on the verge of bankruptcy. The schools are just going to have to suck it up and live like the rest of us. So why are they always paying those administrators a six figure salary? They never seem to cut in those areas, why not? No one on the school board seems to mind - they just keep raising their 6 figure pay and shell out raises like it means nothing when the people who are being taxed are working at a place like Shape or some plastics factory making a lousy $10/hr through a temp service.


Raising their six figure pay? Please provide time frames with in the last several years where that has happened. Also you seem hung up on the $100,000 six figure plus range. It's a business so do you want a $35,000 a year person running it? You get what you pay for our administrators do what I feel is great job.


As an employee of GHAPS, I am sorry that JUSTSAYIN has something against the lunch program at the school. I realize you probably don't realize all that goes on to make sure all the children in the program are fed a nutritionally balanced meal or two. I'm sure that if you would make a call to the FOOD SERVICE DIRECTOR, she could help you to understand. Hopefully, the power-that-be will be able to make the cuts as not to hurt any of the programs that GHAPS, and in turn, provide a safe, healthy and enjoyable experience for your children and everyone else's!


Dear Lunch Ladies...please don't hold "just sayin's" ignorance against IT and please don't engage IT in battle of wit as IT is unarmed!! Just get IT a bigger shovel and allow IT to dig ITSELF a hole deeper and faster. There are a group of subscribers on here that seem to have a moronic comment about everything and apparently have nothing better to do that sit anonymously behind their computer screens spewing mindless dribble and offending people. I for one do appreciate all of your hard work and what you have done for my two children who attended GHHS and so I SALUTE you and THANK YOU!


Thank you Tbone63 for the nice words you said. Yes, I agree there are people who sit behind the computer and say things they know NOTHING about. I had more to say in my original comment, but decided to NOT...thanks again.


Please note that the responses from the workers of teh GHAPS food service were polite, eye opening and informative. Your's, my friend, is rude, ignorant and a simple waste of my time. What you are not aware of is that I am a food service worker within the GHAPS system and I see first hand how hard the ladies work to provide a healthy meal for our children. The point behind my original post is that they are definitely places that funds can be cut within our school system. Please push on with your comments and be sure to not bother replying, as it will only be a waste of your time. Thank you so all the workers that make our school system one of the best in the state.


Most all school district have scaled back their "Cadillac" health insurance. Grand Haven hasn't gone far in that direction. Nor have they held the line on salaries like other districts. The insurance coverage which most no one else has and the salaries could go a long way to improve the district's financial picture.

Why hasn't Grand Haven done like other districts? Maybe it's because most and maybe all school board members are former educators. Several in the Grand Haven District.


Would love to see examples and differences. Please post. Thanks


It's called union contracts, you don't just change them in the middle of contract. I'm sure when contracts come up again they will be addressed and negotiated as necessary. The teachers have given a lot as has the support staff.


Corporate profits are booming while personal income is dwindling yet some fine folks want to go after a worker making 12 bucks an hour or a teacher who educates our children who are the best natural resource we have.


Well, just where would you start? With the school books that our children need to learn from? I do not believe I stated anything about the teachers of our system. If you had simply asked, you would understand that I appreciate and honor our teachers with the highest level of respect and pride.


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