GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Public Schools is cutting nearly $11 million from its budget for the upcoming school year.
All due to the shortfalls within the state school aid fund as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday, the board approved the motion after motion unanimously after two weeks of negotiation.
“The decisions we voted on and made tonight have not been easy”
The school decided to use a combination of its fund balance, federal bailout dollars from the CARES ACT, reliance on future property sales and $10.6 million in cuts.
To offset the projected $2 billion shortfall in the state's school aid fund because of lower sales and income tax revenue during the outbreak, equal to a reduction of about $650 per student for GRPS.
The $10.6 million cut will eliminate 111 positions, however, the district expects vacancies, attrition, and retirement to keep the actual number of positions eliminated to a minimum. The bud cuts three positions within the district's superintendent cabinet and reduce the overall compensation for the remaining members by an average of 5 percent.
Board members say it's unfortunate but believe this is the best option.
The district originally proposed shutting down three buildings and eliminating its Montessori pre-school program but reconfigured after a survey found nearly 54 percent of residents opposed that plan.
At Monday's meeting, board members warned the district is not out of the woods, explaining its fund balance is under 1 percent when state law requires it to be higher than 5 percent.
A GRPS spokesperson explained additional state and federal funds will be needed or the district will likely face cuts and closures for the years to come.