Monday, October 16, 2006

Proposal 5 letter to the Holland School Board

Dear School Board Members,

This fall we have an opportunity ensure that the students of Holland Public Schools are provided with funding levels that guarantee a quality education. Proposal 5 is an education ballot initiative that requires the state to provide annual funding increases at the rate of inflation to Holland Public Schools. Voting yes on this proposal means the resources needed to teach and the resources students need to learn will be available. You can’t afford to let this opportunity to properly fund education pass by. The children of Holland Public Schools deserve a properly funded education.

Again this year, as in many recent years, HPS is choosing to avert a funding crisis by cutting programs, freezing budgets, and maximizing class sizes. Now we have an opportunity to solve our recurrent funding problem. In recent conversations with central office staff, reservations were expressed about what might happen if the foundation grant is reduced after the November election. Passage of Proposal 5 will not allow legislators to play games with funding levels and shirk their responsibility to the children of Holland.

According to the financial data from district’s Three-Year Financial Plan dated May 16, 2006, Proposal 5 will increase HPS revenues and decrease required expenditures. For the 2007-08 school year, revenues, based on student enrollment, will increase by approximately $356,000 over district projections, and state required expenditures will decrease by approximately $790,000 less than district projections. Even greater revenue additions and expenditure savings will be realized each following year. These figures do not account for the declining enrollment averaging provision of Proposal 5, which will increase revenues additionally.

State law allows school boards to discuss the support of statewide ballot proposals at open meetings as well as adopt resolutions supporting such proposals. School boards across the state have publicly supported a “yes” vote on Proposal 5. Jenison, East Grand Rapids, Rockford, and Kenowa Hills are a few of the local districts that have publicly supported Proposal 5 by passing a board resolution. The Michigan Association of School Boards recently sent Superintendent Garcia a copy of the resolution, asking him and the school board to support it.

Don’t miss this opportunity to guarantee the children of Holland the necessary funding for a quality education. I strongly urge you to publicly support the passage of Proposal 5.