By Marlee Delaney
Holt Journal staff writer
Holt Public Schools will experience major school issues this year due to a number of
confounding factors, a school district official said Jan.14, 2013.
Executive Director of Finance and Business Services Kim Cosgrove said Holt Public Schools are making reductions to the budget and facing a decline in enrollment.
Cosgrove said the state of Michigan decides every year how much money to give each public school district, and Holt Public Schools were expecting to receive $7,714.
“Eighty-six percent of the revenues for all public schools in Michigan comes directly from the state of Michigan,” she said.
Cosgrove added that the state of Michigan made an estimate, but then said that it didn’t have enough money because of the downturn in the economy.
The state added that it was going to cut the district’s budget because it was already receiving federal stimulus money.
“In the history books, it will say that they paid us $7,714 when they really only paid us $7,342,” she said.
Holt is also facing a decline in enrollment due to changes in demographics. Cosgrove said that school of choice helps enrollment and bring a more diverse population to the school district.
“Our largest contiguous border is Lansing, and there are parents who don’t want their children to go to Lansing middle schools and high schools,” she said. “They like their elementary schools, but they want to drive their older students over to Holt.”
Cosgrove said many families who have started their children at Holt Public Schools cannot afford to live in homes within the district, but by the time their children are in middle school, they come and live in the community.
She added that kindergarten classes are smaller than graduating classes, indicating that the student population is shrinking.
“There are less children to be educated this year than there were in 1995,” she said. “The state of Michigan hit its peak in 2003 with 1,714,705 pupils but has been declining ever since.”
Principal Mara Lud of Moores Park Elementary in Lansing said she doesn’t have the statistics on how many students her school has lost to Holt.
“Everyone has the right to choose the school district that they want to send their child to,” she said.
Superintendent of Holt Public Schools Dr. Johnny A. Scott said the notion of free choice and free will is something that the government has proposed.
“This is something that is happening across the state,” he said. “Parents from Lansing are not only sending their kids to Holt. They are also sending their children to other school districts like East Lansing and Waverly.”