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GEA, district agree on contract

Concessions from all groups; enrollment decline forecasted

September 25, 2013 - Goodrich-On Sept. 16 the school board of trustees ratified a one year contract with the Goodrich Education Association.

"All employees, including myself, have given back to the district," said Scott Bogner, district superintendent. "From the support staff to administrators to teaching staff, they have given back with regard to wages and benefits—concessions vary and range from about 3 percent to 5 percent. The employees have given to be collaborative—we need to continue to be proactive as a district."

The Goodrich Education Association, representing about 100 teachers, agreed to one year—at which time the contract will be reopened.

Wages and salaries total about 80 percent of the school district's $17 million budget.

"Based on where we are right now, all employees are stepping up to help with the financial issues facing the district," he said. "We are taking it a year at a time. I'm proud of the fact many are looking out for the welfare of the kids and district."

While the wage and benefit concessions are a big step forward financially for the district, enrollment declines are looming in the near future, added Bogner.

"Over the next three years we are going to have fewer students. Our senior class of 2014 is 170 (students), however we have 126 kindergartners. The class of 2015 is 180 students and the class of 2016 is about 200 students. However, we are already seeing much smaller classes in the middle school— there's a gap of about 50 or 60 students. Schools of Choice will not fill in the gap. Families are leaving the area due to the economic climate of the area."

The fund equity is the excess of the district assets above its liabilities (what the district owns minus what it owes). While cash is an asset, it's only one of many of an institution's assets. Others include: accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, supplies, equipment and buildings.

Terese Knag, Genesee Intermediate School District regional shared time director, business services, said the district fund balance has declined from about $3.5 million to a projected $1,246,820 or about 7.06 percent for the start of the 2013-14 school year. The school board has a policy in place to maintain a fund balance of 10 percent, which school officials say that since 2007 has been reduced by about $2 million.

Currently the fund balance is at 8.74 percent with a goal of the board to reach 10 percent, added Bogner.

"Our objective is to have enough funds to cover two months of expenses," said Bogner. "That's just good business to be financially stable in the district."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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