This email is in follow up to your email dated May 6th at 1:30pm in response to my email to Mrs. Lizza providing her with information she requested on our various pre-school programs.
Please don't misconstrue my concern for the dollar amount of the losses we are incurring on our Infant and Toddler Programs with my desire to offer our parents such a program. I would love to see them expanded. My sole concern is that they not be operated at a loss. With buildings in need of repairs, we just don't have the money to do so and even if we did it would (in my opinion) be irresponsible for us as stewards of the community's tax dollars to do so.
The numbers I offered to Mrs. Lizza are not my own. They are the numbers shown in the financials Mr. Howell provided us in November 2015 (copy attached). As you will see when you review Mr. Howell's financials, our Infant Program (servicing 8 children) will lose in excess of $27,000 in 2015-16 alone. This is a loss of $3,375 per child. I don't think it is fair to our taxpayers to offer 8 taxpayers a subsidy of $3,375 per child at the community's expense and then turn around and ask them for more bond or sinking fund money to keep our buildings in good repair.
I wouldn't have such an issue with the 2015-16 tuition if we learned from the losses. What's done is done. I have an issue that we are not learning from our mistakes and not raising the tuition so that we break even in 2016-17. According to Mr. Howell's financials, based on the proposed tuition of $11.911, the school system will again lose money, this time to the tune of $23,342 to service the needs of 8 children.
I don't believe anyone in the community would disagree with me that the Infant and Toddler programs we offer are a great asset to our young families. I would love to see us expand them so that there are available in every elementary school. My caveat is that (like with any non-core program we offer) we can't run them at a loss, especially to this magnitude.
Some would make the argument that if we total up the losses we are incurring in the Infant Program and the Toddler Program with the positive cash flow we are enjoying with the Pre-K Program that we are cost neutral and it will help our enrollment; this is an incredibly expensive way of POSSIBLY gaining a student in our school system. If we are willing to pay $3,000 to gain a student, why not offer this incentive through our realtors to new families with school age children when they buy a new home in our school system? This would create an immediate increase in our State funding.
If the data were examined carefully, I am fairly certain we would find that there is no causal link between a child being in our loss leader Infant and Toddler programs and them ultimately enrolling in kindergarten wherein we receive State funding. Instead, I believe the data would prove that those in our Infant and Toddler programs were likely to and/or probably do attend our elementary schools in any regard due to their geographic proximity and the excellent education we offer.
The takeaways from the numbers brought to the surface by Mrs. Lizza's inquiry are really quite simple. We are spending taxpayer dollars subsidizing two programs that are being priced under market. Other communities offering the same programs are charging sufficient tuition to cover their costs. We are in a financial condition that demands we do the same. Raise the price per child on the Infant and Toddler Programs so that we stop losing money on every child enrolled and let's expand them. If there is no demand for the programs once they are priced so as not to create a loss, then we can't afford to run them anymore. It's just the right thing to do.
P.S. On an unrelated issue, I notice that I seem to be the only one sending school-related emails with any kind of disclaimer in their footer as required by board policy (see below). If this policy has been abandoned or changed, please let me know so that I can eliminate my disclaimer.
Ahmed Ismail, Trustee
Grosse Pointe Public School System
Notice to Recipient: The views expressed in this transmittal and its attachments (if any) are those of its author individually and are not necessarily shared by the other members of the Grosse Pointe Public School System's Board of Trustees and/or its administration. If you would like the official school board position on an issue or would like to communicate to all of the members of the school board at once, please send your email to email@example.com. Thank you.
From: Judy Gafa
Sent: Friday, May 06, 2016 1:30:48 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To: School Board
Cc: Fenton, Christian; Dean, Jon; Fannon, Rebecca; Lois Valente; firstname.lastname@example.org
; Niehaus, Gary; email@example.com
Subject: Re: FW: Your Questions re: School System Financial Losses On Infant and 2-3 Toddler Programs
Can Mr Howell and Mr Fenton please double check Mr Ismails math and the loss he claims our infant program is making
We have a wait list for our infant program. I have been contacted by multiple families with young children who have requested we expand the program as infant care is hard to find. One young family intends to use our pre-school because they were so happy with the infant program
I certainly hope any figures that are being given out are correct as we saw at a previous board meeting one member had the tuition wrong
Thank you Keith and Chris