The 100 plus page document, commonly referred to as the “audit’, always brings about the urge to yawn. I firmly believe the Executive Summary was developed because accountants knew that going through the entire audit can be a yawner! But, I will say this about WLPS audits of late: they are full of good news, and that usually gets me through the first 50 pages yawn free.
I’ll spare you the details and just hit the summary. Most school districts in Michigan have lost enrollment over the past decade. On average, districts lost 500 kids. WLPS is no exception. What IS exceptional is our ability to manage expenditures despite formulaic revenue declines (yawning just writing “formulaic”). What is also exceptional is our community’s continued support and their passion for investing in our district and our students. Our fund balance has climbed back to the same percentage it was at in 2008 when we had 500 more students.
What does all this mean? It means WLPS is a financially healthy organization. This clean bill of financial health allows us to expand programs and bring more resources to our classrooms to support our students and our staff. The increase in our financial health led to the first three-year contract with our teachers in over ten years. Furthermore, it has allowed us to buy new buses, new plow trucks, new computers for all teachers and more. It gives us the freedom to think outside the box and plan for summer enrichment partnerships, magnet schools, and international exchange programs. These are all things that, I believe, will make WLPS a destination district!
Financial health also is noticed by financial institutions. With a recently improved credit rating, WLPS was able to refinance our bonds again. In fact, refinancing has saved our taxpayers millions of dollars in future payments – $10 million to be exact! Share this news with people who don’t have kids in our district.
Very few school districts are able to do what WLPS is doing. If you don’t believe me, come to a Board of Education meeting and listen to the audit someday…but, bring a cup of coffee.
I am looking forward to a thriving 2020. It will be a great decade to be a Trojan!