Farmington Hills city council member Cheryl Oliverio said Monday she feels Farmington school officials have been negligent in not keeping buildings in good repair. Photo credit: City of Farmington Hills
As part of the presentation, school staff members said the district had been working on a facilities master plan over the past nine years. Jon Manier, executive director of instructional services, said the district has made "intentional decisions" to defer some capital projects, to maintain educational programs.
Council member Cheryl Oliverio said she has not had a raise in 10 years and still had to deal with the cost of home repairs and other expenses.
"The dollars you have are supposed to go for everything, and not let it go to hell and now come to us and say we need all this money, and it's for the kids," she said. "It looks to me like you guys have been negligent."
Council member Ken Massey pointed out that the city builds capital needs into its budget. "'How did you get to this point?' is a valid question that I think needs to be addressed," he said.
Mary Reynolds, executive director of business services, said the district has a capital budget, but is limited in raising funds for capital needs. She said documents on the district's website show $60 million in budget cuts made over the past 10 years.
Facilities director Jon Riebe said $2 million to $3 million is spent annually on buildings and grounds, but the buildings are old and heavily used. The average age of buildings is 50.
"We recognize we are making a significant request of our community," Manier said.
Council member Nancy Bates said Farmington Hills has always been a community where people support the library, even when they don't use it, and schools, even though they don't have children in them.
"I hope that culture is not changing, because I think that makes us a special community," she said.
Correction: The name and title of the district's executive director of business services Mary Reynolds were incorrectly reported in the original version of this article.