School board discusses budget parameters

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 21, 2015


GROSSE POINTES — The administration will begin molding the 2015-16 budget soon, so the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education is setting the parameters it wants the administration to use in the process.

It’s something the board is required to do each year based on the district’s policies.

The board had an initial discussion at its Jan. 12 meeting with plans to move forward with the parameters at its Jan. 26 meeting. Next year’s projected budget is $97.8 million for general fund expenditures, according to the district.

“This is our opportunity to set objective goals and indicate what kind of budget strategies we’d like to have the administration look into when they’re preparing the budget over the next several months,” Treasurer Brian Summerfield said.

Summerfield reached out to the other board members for their input and created a draft of those parameters.

“I really appreciate the time that you took to reach out … and seek everyone’s input,” Trustee Ahmed Ismail said. “I think you did a great job at putting this together.”

He also thanked Deputy Superintendent for Business and Operations Christian Fenton for his assistance.

“They were very helpful to me,” Ismail said of Summerfield and Fenton.

Board Trustee Margaret Weertz also praised the document that was presented as a draft.

“I think it’s an excellent document — a great place to start,” she said.

She said funding the district’s most critical technology needs is on her priority list, which was also on the parameter draft given to the board.

She also believes the district needs to increase its communication strategies to the entire community throughout the year, which was also part of the draft.

Other components of the draft included the district’s continuing commitment to not open up for schools of choice, prioritizing sinking fund projects, reviewing ways to cut energy and other ongoing costs, and expanding opportunities for tuition-based preschool.

The district has several months to craft its budget with final approval needed by June 30, according to district information.