By Bill Chatfield, CFD, MSBO Board Immediate Past President, Director of Operations, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Signs of summer are all around us. Folks are being vaccinated, restrictions on gatherings and entertainment are being eased, and COVID illnesses are dropping faster than the Tiger’s playoff chances. All of these positive signs conjure up the melody to Barry Manilow’s famous 1976 hit song, Looks Like We Made It. Ignore the fact that the song itself is a 70’s era love song that harkens to a simpler time when finding love and strengthening it through the hardships was one of life’s biggest challenges. The catchy title is symbolic of enduring a period of adversity and eventually recognizing you made it through the adversity to become stronger and more resilient. While that’s a slightly melodramatic description of a sappy song title, it seems fitting at this time.
Granted, most of us still have a month of school remaining but there are a lot of positive signs pointing to the fact that we are going to make it through this school year and come back strong in the next. There certainly are obstacles remaining in the next few weeks and through the state budget battles that are inevitable, but a positive Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) report and reported surpluses in the General and School Aid funds are the best news we’ve had in many years. Questions remain about future enrollments and whether your district will offer virtual options in addition to in person classes, and how that will impact per pupil funding, but compared to a year ago, these challenges are a breeze.
It appears this summer will be more traditional with open houses, weddings, family vacations, and all the other routine summer events that, after last summer, we realized we just took for granted. For many districts, summer programs will ramp back up, school construction projects will be more than back to normal – they are breaking records – and you may even get to conduct your summer audits with face to face discussion with auditors and office staff. Again, simple things we always expected to take place but realized we took for granted when we could no longer do them.
So, enjoy the coming summer and do something that harkens back to an enjoyable memory from the past before viruses, lock downs and fear of other people became a thing. While you’re at it, fire up the classic Barry Manilow song. But be warned, you won’t be able to get the tune out of your head for the rest of the day. Happy Summer.