Funding for K-12 education continues to be a major concern for many Michigan citizens. Like most school districts in mid-Michigan, Holt Public Schools is continuously exploring ways to deal with this challenge. Recall in 2011-12 the State of Michigan reduced all K-12 per pupil funding by $470, which equates to about a $2.9 million reduction for Holt Schools. While the state has given school districts some one-time, criteria-specific performance dollars for best practices or performance, the state has not restored the $470 level to the per pupil funding. In response to the continued decline in per pupil funding, at the April 2013 school board meeting, the Holt administration presented a Plan for Educational and Economic Stability (referred to as “The Plan”).
With support from the board, the administration has been steadily implementing aspects of The Plan. There are three major components to The Plan – (a) the development of a College in School – Holt High School Main and North campuses, (b) adding Sycamore Elementary School to the balanced (year-round) calendar, and (c) the repurposing of Midway Elementary School to an Early Childhood/Preschool Center.
With regards to the College in School concept, you can find much of the work done to date at www.hhssteeringcouncil.weebly.com under the North and Main Campus development tab. The district goal under this effort is to create a “value added” experience for students, giving them an opportunity to earn college credit on the Holt High School campus. This generates a post-high school tuition cost savings for families while enhancing and illuminating the academic culture work that is occurring throughout the district.
Equally important, the district has added a sister balanced calendar elementary school to Horizon Elementary. One educational benefit of a balanced calendar is that it reduces the “summer slide” (a term that describes the learning loss that occurs during the summer break). There is a reduction in costs associated with itinerant staff being on the same calendar. And lastly, it gives additional district families an opportunity to experience the balanced calendar.
Following the conversion of Sycamore Elementary to the balanced calendar, the district will repurpose Midway Elementary School into an Early Childhood/Preschool Center for the 2014/15 school year. This conversion will create efficiencies through the reduction of administrative and support personnel while equalizing the district’s K-4 student population over five elementary (two balanced, three traditional) buildings. Please see the Redistricting Information link for the Redistricting Guidelines, the current and new K-4 and 5-6 school boundary maps, a summary of transportation eligibility, a chart of forms and deadlines, and other information.
In summary, the Board of Education and I realize the changes we are taking will impact families. We believe, however, that these are the first necessary steps before moving to suspend, reduce or eliminate services and/or programs to students. As public officials, we understand that we must balance the fiduciary responsibility of being good stewards of public funds with maximizing educational pathways into the world for every student at Holt Public Schools.
Johnny A. Scott, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools