GRPS approves budget with $10.6 million in cuts

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools on Monday approved its budget for the upcoming school year, which comes with $10.6 million in cuts.

The Board of Education unanimously passed the budget during a virtual meeting.

The 2019-20 budget was $229.9 million. The upcoming budget is $218.7 million.

Under the budget for the upcoming year, which was laid out by GRPS Chief Financial Officer Larry Oberst, the district is not filling some job vacancies. It says about 20% to 30% of jobs are vacant and will go unfilled. Employee wages and benefits are being frozen to the same levels they were for the 2019-2020 budget

The district also plans to reduce spending on things like transportation and advertising.

No school buildings will be closed and all Montessori and pre-K programs will remain open.

Last year, $300 was cut per-pupil in state funding, working out to $82.8 million for the district. With the district anticipating another cut of at least $300 per pupil, the figure could drop to $78.1 million this year.

The school boards for Kalamazoo and Portage also passed budgets with large cuts Monday.

GRPS is not expecting a normal school year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she is hopeful about allowing students back in the classroom and is expected to release her plan for safety in schools Tuesday.

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