“I don’t believe in wasting money,” Loy Norrix Principal Johnny Edwards said as he explained the problems and benefits of school funding. “A principal must know balance to run a school,” he continued.
With dozens of programs and seldom enough funds to keep everything running, the micro-economy that takes place every year within a school is much more intricate than one might imagine.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, KPS is given roughly $150 million a year, and with overbudgetting on one side and no roll-over on the other, running a high school can be very difficult.
Edwards does however, believe in “The Rule of Thumb,” which Edwards explained means that,“With 50% of the school year left, at least 50% of the budget should be left.”
According to Edwards, once spending budgets are proposed, the principal is held responsible for any overspending that may occur throughout the year. Out of all the different types of funding, three are the most prevalent at Loy Norrix: normal budgeting, funded primarily by the state and local government, at-risk funding, which is used for security and attendance intervention, and bond funds.
Bond funds, sometimes worth millions of dollars, are spent on more luxurious sounding things such as the Chromebooks (computers for students) in classrooms or the T.V.s in the halls.
The funding provided by the government goes towards necessities such as salaries, supplies and texts: everyday requirements for the school to run. Edwards understands that school districts might not receive as much funding as they should, but he personally makes sure no program is underfunded and nothing is sacrificed.
Districts are funded based on the student population, according to both Michigan.gov and the “Kalamazoo Public Schools Appropriations Resolution 2017/18 Preliminary Budget.” Schools in Michigan receive $7,847 per student from the government. KPS, with approximately 13 thousand students, and utilizing other sources, brings in just over $150 million a year.
Most of the government money goes towards teachers’ salaries, while a lot of other expenses are pre-paid outside of the school. KPS negotiates deals with companies to serve their food or use their products inside of the district, saving money in the long run.
Edwards said, that if he could, he would pay his employees higher wages and bring in more teachers to our school, but these options aren’t available with the amount of funding schools receive. As inflation increases, school funding has only gone down. KPS has lost roughly $7 million since only ten years ago. People need education now more than ever, but schools are often underfunded, and it is more than easy to overspend.
School budgeting can be difficult, and whether they’re able to choose where the money goes or it has already been decided by KPS officials, we should all appreciate what Loy Norrix has done with what it has.