Gladstone schools keep eye on state funding

GLADSTONE — Gladstone Superintendent Jay Kulbertis updated members of the Gladstone Area Schools Board of Education on Gov. Rick Snyder’s state budget proposal for Michigan’s 2018-19 fiscal year during the board’s regular meeting Monday. Snyder’s $56.8 billion proposal was presented earlier this month.

So far, Kulbertis said, the district has not heard anything about the budget proposal from Michigan’s House or Senate.

“In that vacuum, we have seen a considerable amount of education-related legislation that’s being discussed,” he said. He noted some of the legislation has not gone through the House and Senate’s education committees, as would normally be the case.

Kulbertis said he believes the House and Senate could try to tie pieces of legislation they hope to pass in this budget cycle to increased funding for schools as a bargaining chip.

“What we do expect is that there’ll be considerable horse-trading as budget time starts to ramp up,” he said.

According to Kulbertis, he expects state funding of schools in the final 2018-19 budget to be close to Snyder’s proposed $240 increase per student. He said this would be relatively high compared to school funding in other state budgets from the past 10 to 15 years, but that it would not be enough to match the amount of funding called for in a recent study.

“It doesn’t come close to funding schools anywhere near (the) recommended level in the … latest Michigan school funding study, which says we’re several thousand dollars short per student,” Kulbertis said.

According to Kulbertis, a state budget should be approved later in the year.

“Everything will start to come together in May and June, and we’ll have a budget,” he said.

In other business, the board:

– accepted a letter rescinding intent to retire in 2018 and a letter of intent to retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year from Kari Fassbender.

– accepted a letter rescinding intent to retire in 2018 and a letter of intent to retire on Aug. 1, 2019 from Karen DeMay.