I am very worried about the 5,150 students and 42,000 taxpayers of the BHSD.
ALL of them. I am not sure that our school board trustees share my concerns.
They are in a position to act on them, and they aren't. The amount of surplus pre-collected tax dollars held in various district funds is close to $75-million.
Some of that must be held in reserves, of course, for a "rainy day."
The BHSD also has the remainder of the 2004 sinking fund ($50 million+ in 2004) and the entire amount of the 2010 sinking fund (about $25 million) to spend on facilities.
The taxpayers of this district have been VERY generous. We (the BHSD) could have a lot more money than that, if the Board made some smart decisions! But they didn't.
The BHSD board has taken no steps to eliminate any part of the 100% excess school capacity that we pay to operate and maintain in our school district.
The BHSD has not outsourced to private firms any departments or employees, including custodial, transportation, and building services. For instance, do we really need a BHSD employee to mow the lawns at Wabeek? Pine Lake?
I've got a lawn guy who would do it for a fraction of whatever it costs the BHSD today! And with no benefits, no pension, no paid vacations! He's an entrepreneur, and Michigan needs more like him!
Students enrolled in certain courses in the BHSD are required to pay a fee of up to $40 per term for "transportation." Why? We own the buses, the drivers are on salary.
The BHSD has 507 full-time teaching positions, yet only 4900 resident students. That's fewer than 10 students to one teacher. I love teachers, so let's keep them.
However, the BHSD has 170 "administrators" (and says they have 50 CA staff!) for 4900 resident students. Fifty people in central administration?
Our board actually paid almost $1-million to a single consultant (Fielding Nair International). That's ridiculous.
A new high school for our community? How does $46.4-million sound? TOTAL.
A new, academically-oriented, comprehensive high school for 1850 students (grades 9-12) can be designed and built for under $50-million ($46.4 million, to be exact) competitive bidding must be used.
(My husband coordinated the construction of this particular local project, which I have toured, it's amazing.)
NOTE: The current unofficial plan is to build/renovate a single school (for 1650) at Andover for $79-million. Huh? For about $90-million, we could have TWO.
Therefore, the BHSD has enough money in its various funds to build a fine new high high school. Why ask for more?
If some citizens would like to build a Performing Arts Center, I suggest that they propose a design and request a limited bond, over a short time span, for that specific purpose.
I do not believe that the "Lighthouse" approach is a good idea for the BHSD. We should be an elite district with a "residents only" admissions policy for mainstream, K-12 students. We pay premium local taxes to educate resident students ONLY.
We need to right-size our schools.How much is the BHSD is paying consultants, including FNI and Charlie Fleetham?
I would prefer that my education tax dollars be used to educate students.
I was offended by last week's school board meeting. Not due to the personal attacks directed at me, at B20/20 and the recall effort, but due to the fact that the board did not seem interested in running our school district or re-directing the administration in any positive way!
The BHSD needs a better board of education.
Please support the RECALL of all 7 BHSD Trustees.
Call 248-943-8580 for information and petitions.
577 Tally Ho Court
BH, MI 48304
*If the BHSD had taken the money paid to FNI and divided it among the graduates of the classes of June, 2011, each student could have received a "scholarship" of almost $2000 as a gift from the district.
Now, that would draw families to our residential neighborhoods and our public schools!