Director’s Note: November 2013

Dear Community,
It was such a pleasure to see so many of you at our Fall Festival last weekend. I’d like to thank the Kovacs and all the other families who did so much to make this event an incredible success. I’m always left very impressed with results when our community pulls together to accomplish a goal.
As many of you know, school funding has become a serious issue in our state. Two years ago, the Muskegon Heights and Highland Park school districts closed all of their schools and contracted with for-profit charter companies to operate their schools. Then, last year both Buena Vista and Inkster school districts closed; and Albion closed its high school. Presently, there are 55 school districts in the state that are in financial distress. These schools will be required make significant budget cuts or will have an emergency financial manager appointed to operate their district. Smaller districts may face closure.
Shellee and I, as well as our school board, saw this challenge coming several years ago. We were also aware that reductions in federal funding were setting many school districts up to slide over a financial cliff. For this reason, we increased our fund balance and began making strategic cuts in an effort to retain our various educational programs. Because 80% of our budget goes to personnel costs, our teachers and staff have borne the brunt of the cuts. At the same time, their out-of-pocket costs for their benefits programs – health care and mandatory retirement savings – have increased dramatically– in some cases by several hundred percent.
Presently there are several bills being introduced to our state legislative bodies that focus on reducing the sales tax on a variety of items. If passed into law, the legislation will have a direct impact on the school aid fund, which is primarily funded by sales tax. The school aid fund provides approximately 83% of Honey Creek’s total revenues.
In an effort to address continued reductions in our funding, the Honey Creek Board of Trustees took the initiative to create the Honey Creek Community School Foundation. The focus of the Foundation is to raise funds to create a sustainable financial platform, which will also provide for the continued improvement of our wonderful school. We will do this by soliciting donations from our community, local businesses and philanthropists, and foundations, but community participation will be vital to our efforts to secure larger donations.
In the next week or two you will receive an invitation to participate in an evening event to learn more about the challenges as well as the opportunities before us. Please make the time to attend. Between now and then, there are a few things that you can do.
  • Learn more about the financial challenges facing education in our state and share that with fellow community members.
  • Consider how you can support your child’s education by giving to the Foundation.
  • Consider asking extended family members if they would be willing to support your child’s education.
  • Ask your employer if they provide matching funds for charitable donations.
  • Speak to your employer about the wonderful education your child is receiving and ask them if they would be willing to meet with a member of our Foundation Board.
Our Fall Festival is just one example of our community’s generosity and ability to come together for a common cause. I’m certain that with your support we can overcome the challenges ahead. Thank you for taking the time to read this message and for all that you do for our wonderful school.

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