Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holland is #7 in Surplus Increase (more than 540 other districts)

Last year the district added $2.8 million to it’s fund surplus (page 10, HPS Annual Financial Report, October 10, 2007). The improved district budget, created by the board’s decision to finally abandon costly, inefficient, and unpopular operations (i.e. Focus Schools), will continue for many years. These cost saving measures will allow the district to yearly add to its fund surplus. With last year’s addition of $2.8 million ($2,778,490 - page 22), the district now has a surplus of 10.4% or $4,389,131 (page 22).

Of the more than 500 public school districts in Michigan, only 6 districts added more money to their fund surplus last year than Holland. If we had fully paid health insurance, like every other teacher group in Ottawa County, HPS’'s surplus increase would still be 8th highest in the state.

Now it appears that the board is positioning to add even more to their surplus. At the September 17, 2007 board meeting, the board revised Board Policy 6105. For at least 12 years, 6105 limited the fund surplus to 10%. The revision has no maximum.

At the November 19, 2007 board meeting, the district’s auditor recommended a 15-20% fund surplus! The state does not require a fund surplus, and there are no state or national accounting principles that call for a fund surplus.

Keep in mind the board’s Strategic Plan for 2006-2011, adopted in August 2006. It states a goal of maintaining a 7-10% surplus for fiscal responsibility. Since at least 1995, a 10% fund surplus goal was enough, but not now.

Last year, the board put more money in the bank than 540 other districts. As we are getting ready to bargain, ask yourself, is it fair for us to continue to pay while the board adds to its surplus?

Monday, December 03, 2007

HPS Surplus $4,389,131

During the last round of bargaining, the board saturated the teachers and the community with their three-year financial plans. The HEA encouraged teachers and community members to ignore the Board's version of the “truth,’ and instead focus on what was the truth. The Board used these plans to justify their illegal imposition, to justify their desire to attack the teacher's insurance, and to justify a below par salary increase. Another look at the Board’s version of the “truth” is warranted. Here are the dates of some of their three-year financial plans and the projected fund surplus amounts for the 2006-07 school year:

Date Fund Surplus
September 2005 $991,124
December 2005 -$43,134
May 2006 $1,199,492

From the Board’s independent audit, the truth is: