funding freeze

Monorail installed over White Pine Trail

April 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

‘This will generate considerable revenue Michigan needs now’ State planners last September approved installation of an Amtrack monorail over the White Pine Trail, a project that is now open for public use. “This will generate considerable revenue Michigan needs now,” said a state spokesman during the unveiling ceremony held Thursday, April 1. Friends of the White Pine Trail opposed the project, saying that a train capable of traveling at 80 miles an hour over the serene landscape through which the trail passes will be distruptive. “We enjoy the natural aspect of the trail and hikers and bicyclists won’t enjoy the loud noise and exhaust when the train goes over,” said Mick Mosh, director of the Athletic Supporters of the White Pine Trail. Others consider the monorail a brilliant addition to the trail that will increase visits to Rockford and other communities from Comstock Park to Cadillac. When people walk, they never look up. It was just wasted space that now has a practical use,” said Cliff Hill, who, with wife Nancy, is an avid walker. The cost to ride the monorail depends on where along the trail people board. The Rockford stop, in downtown Rockford at the Prominette, is the most expensive. “You pay for value and there is no doubt rockford is the prettiest town along the 100-mile stretch,” said the Director of the White Pine Trail Monorail Authority. The monorail was installed in 110-foot segments. It was designed to be high enough that tall people can use the trail without bumping into it. The base supports are electrified to discourage graffiti or vandalism. Portions of the work were paid for with federal stimulus grants while part of the funding came from advertising on the train itself. New ads will appear monthly on the exterior of the train body. “Really it is as pretty as the woods and rivers the trail passes by, maybe even more so,” said the Director. “I think it is a beautiful addition. The smell of fumes when the train passes will only make people appreciate clean air more. That’s win-win if I ever saw it.” Each community voted separately to approve their portion of the monorail and the ticket sales income will be split accordingly. Sand Lake voted not […]

School funds must be kept separate

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools   As we all know, the state of Michigan’s economy is in crisis mode. Unemployment is over 11 percent, and sales from a variety of businesses are down. Both of these factors have resulted in a serious decline in revenues used to fund the state’s public schools. In late February, Governor Granholm declared that Michigan schools would receive $59 less per student in 2009-10 than they received in 2008-09. Then, in early March, the Governor announced that because of potential revenues from the Federal Stimulus Package, it is possible that the best case scenario for school funding might be a freeze rather than a reduction. Although a funding freeze is our best case scenario, our costs continue to rise, just as in your home or business, despite active efforts to contain them. In anticipation of a freeze in state funding, we project we will need to reduce our costs by $2.5 million in order to balance the 2009-10 budget. This number would be higher in the event of a funding reduction. We are committed to doing our very best to keep most of these reductions away from the classroom, but with 85 percent of our budget delegated to staffing, that will be difficult. For the past several months, we have been giving presentations to staff and parent organizations regarding Michigan’s serious economic crisis and its impact on all public schools. We have also reported to these groups that, prior to July 1, it will be necessary for the Board of Education and administration to reduce our costs by $2.5 million. We are currently identifying where those reductions will occur, and I will notify you through our webpage and the district newsletter The Rampage once the Board of Education has approved them. A frequently asked question during our public budget presentations involved using the revenues from the $45 million bond issue passed by voters last May to ease the funding shortfall from the state of Michigan. There is only one answer to this question:  IT IS ILLEGAL TO CO-MINGLE FUNDS, such as revenues from the bond issue and general day-to-day operating funds. So, it is important to understand when you see new classrooms added to six of […]