School programs cope with budget cuts

As school districts handle diminishing funding levels, some have had to cut funding for extracurricular programs.
Krystle Wagner
Sep 16, 2013


Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said the district has worked to reduce program costs wherever possible, while also seeking other income sources without having to eliminate programs.

Konarska said they have been able to maintain program offerings for the most part, but they have asked each program to work at reducing costs to offset the funding reduction.

This year, program reductions in the Grand Haven school district exceeded $500,000.

“We have worked hard to keep reductions away from the classroom programs, but are seeing gradual increases in class sizes as a result of not always replacing retired teachers,” Konarska said.

On Sept. 21, the Julia Houle Fund will host a golf outing at the Grand Haven Golf Club to raise money for the Lakeshore Middle School Science Olympiad team. The program has previously received some funding from the district’s general account budget, but last year its funding was cut in half.

The Science Olympiad program sets aside money each year to cover costs of attending tournaments, but this year’s trip might provide more of a challenge, said Michael Reed, head coach of the Grand Haven High School team. If Grand Haven’s Science Olympiad teams make it to the national level, they will travel to Florida, which will cost more than last year’s national tournament trip to Ohio.

Reed said students pay a fee to participate and they receive contributions from the community. They held a fundraiser last year to help cover expenses.

“For any coach, fundraising has become part of the job now,” he said.

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



Captain Obvious

You get what you vote for! If you buy into the brainwashing that all taxes and public spending is bad, you get less spending on schools and roads,etc.

This at a time when our infrastructure is falling into disrepair from years of neglect and our children are steadily falling behind the rest of the developed countries out there as far as education is concerned.

Our slide into the 3rd world starts when we allow large corporations and the ultra wealthy to dictate policy and values. Yes we should strive to eliminate waste in government, but we should not be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.


My taxes sure went up over $270! I'm sure other peoples did also. But did their incomes? Its coming to a point where people just cant pay their property taxes and just let it fold. Should ask county treasurer how many parcels are in the arrears. Peoples incomes are down. Welfare is up. Temp services at all these factories. When we get a candidate for any public office who is in touch with ordinary working people - they lose their races for office huge! Only people with $100,000/yr incomes vote anyway. The thousands on those temp services don't even bother fill out an absentee ballot. So then who's fault is that? Rich will get richer and poorer will get poorer because the poor don't vote. They just throw it away.


Maybe look at applying for a grant thru the community foundation for some funding. It's sad that these City and Twp boards just increase taxes when they could cut the huge fat from the budgets...Daily I drive by the GH TWP Hall and think why can we cut some cost by having the fireman do the lawn work around the TWP hall... This would certainly cut costs they just bill the tax payers regardless of what the public voice is.


What the superintendent isn't saying is that Lansing passed legislation making it mandatory for teachers to pay a portion of their cadillac health insurance coverage like the rest of us have done for years. And teachers now pay more toward their pensions which most of us don't have. Those two pieces of legislation alone has saved schools thousands of dollars. Are we comparing apples to apples or apples to oranges when we say what state funding was years ago? Also, if you noticed in the Tribune last week, a very high percentage of the local tax dollar goes to education. Having to trim budget can be a positive. Every governmental agency has fat in their budgets. Sometime we are just way too greedy.


I don't believe it is greedy to fund programs that benefit students in our schools. The "fat" in the budget won't get trimmed by cutting administrators salaries or staff benefits. It gets trimmed by cutting educational programs ( like a nationally ranked and respected science Olympiad program), it gets cut by putting more of the financial burden for extracurricular activities and sports on parents, and it gets cut by not hiring new teachers and increasing class sizes. I have a student at GHHS. She has so many students in her history class there are not enough seats for all of them. It also has cost my family $300.00 so far to play a varsity sport, not including the mandatory fundraiser!


Today the middle class is shrinking, or you could say disappearing, higher taxes on those who are defined as the middle class cannot continue, because it is a simple matter of supply and demand. Increasing entitlements, and higher taxes on the working class is not the answer, it may be during a strong economy, and low unemployment. However today the same financial uncertainties, or threats exist that took us into the recession, and an argument can be made that we our in fact, in worse economic and social shape today.
Sure, it is true that the numbers of poor people are increasing but at least they fall into an ever increasing entitlement pool, at the same time the average working class continue to struggle to stay above water. Falling outside the ever increasing entitlements of big brother, the very same entitlements that they are paying for with there hard work and determination.
We must as a society take a very serious look at our educational programs and the many fringe benefits, or runaway entitlements that we can receive. Sure we are very bless to have them, but are we becoming spoiled? Maybe we are, is it time that we take a look at the future and consider the road we are now on today. Will we be able to afford the continued increases in taxes, will the demand over run the supply? No new taxes, but living within our financial abilities and being grateful for what we have today, for many nations around the world would love to have what we have today. Are we grateful, do we count our blessings, or are we becoming greedy, just food for thought and please don't kill the messenger, just open your minds.


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