Let’s break down why the GPPSS continues to experience financial duress. The employee contract that tied compensation to fund equity was the response six years ago. Now people want to claim there’s a better way. Examine the data presented here and before you criticize, tell us all what you would do.
The popularity contest (aka election) facing the community next Tuesday, will be quickly followed by the unpleasant task of addressing the structural gap revealed by this year’s audit report. Some way or another, elected board members will make large segments of the population (euphemism alert) unhappy. Those candidates who are pledging against holding employees harmless under these conditions are free to campaign on this basis…provided they share whatever very unpleasant alternative they will need to embrace to solve this problem before the district moves to a negative fund equity position.
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?