The Grand Rapids, Michigan public school district has a $13.5 million budget deficit.
District officials say the state is at fault, for not keeping up with the rate of inflation when tabulating aid to public schools.
But we suspect it could be an in-house problem. The district has a long history of being overly generous with its unionized labor force, and the following is a perfect example:
Declining enrollment has been a problem for the district, since it gets so much money from the state for each student enrolled.
So how do the knuckleheads on the school board react to this challenge? Last year they added an “enrollment compensation incentive” to all of the union contracts, according to a report from the Grand Rapids Press.
It does not promise a raise if enrollment actually increases and brings more money into the district. That would be too logical.
Instead it promises a raise if enrollment declines less than it did the previous year. GRPS expects to lose around 400 students this fall, compared to about 700 last year, so union workers will be paid an extra $1.9 million.
We suppose they will just tack that extra cost onto the existing deficit. What the heck.
Employee incentive programs are supposed to reward the workforce if the employer makes money. In this case the employees are being rewarded while the employer continues to lose money. What an absurd waste of tax dollars.
If GRPS were a private business, it would have hit the financial rocks a long time ago.
Michigan needs full school choice (more charter schools and a private school voucher program) so that poorly run districts like GRPS will be forced to conduct business wisely or shut their doors.