I suggest voters in the coming GPPSS school board election press for candidates on two main issues: their stance on the current employee union agreements and their position on a tax increase. The two are inextricably linked.
Some of the same patterns emerge as the district treats the symptom rather than the cause of budget contraction.
GPPSS employees rightfully decry the reduction in their salaries, but neither they, the Board, or the taxpaying public can afford to ignore other forms of employee compensation. We know what happens when we do – and it’s not good.
The school board is eager to talk about allowing non-resident staff to send their children to GPPSS schools, but not so eager to discuss financial and contract issues that are of much greater consequence.
The GPPSS’ company among districts that pay above average teacher salaries and have below average ratios of pupils to teachers is dwindling and the risks of doing so are great. The Board of Education ought to heed the warning signs and contemplate how the district will maintain this position.
The logjam of the 2010 GPPSS and GPEA teacher contract negotiations impasse was broken by agreement that 10% was a reasonable fund equity target. Six years later, the return to a 10% fund equity is still in doubt.
With Michigan public K-12 funding tied so closely to student enrollment, declining enrollment is one of the worst problems to have. The GPPSS’ enrollment has averaged 1% loss a year for ten years. Do historical enrollment levels tell us where we’re headed?
Both Farmington and Grosse Pointe Public Schools have experienced significant enrollment loss and thus reductions in teaching staff. Farmington is now closing schools. How can the GPPSS avoid the same fate?
Analyzing data from 200 and 2014 US Census and ACS data shows shows population trends for the Grosse Pointes contracting with proportional increases in older age brackets and proportional decreases in younger age brackets.
A more detailed analysis will follow, but a quick view of census data for the Grosse Pointe communities show a clear trend. The five Grosse Pointes are getting progressively older and are losing population.