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Jackson Superintendent weighs in on the state of school funding in Michigan

Posted at 6:15 PM, May 16, 2024
  • Thursday, several educational leaders in Michigan came together for a press conference to discuss their concerns with school funding.
  • Video shows Geoff Bontrager giving his take on common concerns superintendents across the state are facing.
  • Bontrager, Superintendent of Northwest Community Schools, explains that though Northwest is in a good spot as COVID grant dollars dry up, the same can't be said for other school districts.

As COVID grant dollars dry up, leaders in education are nervous for their financial future. Geoff Bontrager, Superintendent of Northwest Community Schools, gives his take on why some Michigan superintendents are concerned.
"When these funds came in, it was a big choice of the use of those particular moneys. We determine it as supplanting versus supplementing, and there really was a delicate balance that needed to happen with that," says Bontrager.

He explained some schools used those dollars to supplement by doing things such as hiring a large number of new staff, and in the future, those schools may not be able to afford to keep those new staff members. Bontrager suggested that the schools that supplanted their money may be in better shape, once COVID grant dollars go away.

Bontrager says, "When these COVID dollars dry up, which they are right now, Northwest is going to be just fine. Unfortunately, I'm sure with the declining population, birth rate, and so on, there's a big concern for some districts that were not in a good financial state to begin with."

Bontrager hopes in the future, as schools across the state struggle with funding, money from the state can be used at the discretion of school boards and superintendents.

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