Auburn Hills, Mich. – Feb. 17, 2016 – Bob Kittle, president of Michigan-based Munetrix, a data aggregator offering a comprehensive suite of reporting, management and forecasting tools designed to meet the financial management and transparency needs of states, municipalities and schools, was interviewed on the Frank Beckmann show on WJR am 760 by guest host Jason Vines. The interview took place on Feb. 16.
Responding to questions by Vines, Kittle first noted Munetrix’s role with school districts and local government.
“Munetrix is a data aggregator. We turn vast amounts of data into information that average citizens and policy makers can understand and use to for effective decision making,” Kittle said, noting listeners can check on the fiscal strength of their own communities (one being strong, ten being the lowest score) by going to the Munetrix website.
Kittle also discussed Michigan’s per pupil funding approach and the challenges it presents when enrollment is down.
“You can’t lay-off a shift or turn off a supplier like a manufacturing company,” Kittle said. “More education options, such as charter schools and virtual academies, combined with a dwindling Michigan student population, are hurting school districts throughout the state but especially in urban areas like Detroit, Pontiac, Saginaw and Flint. Urban inner city school districts have a structurally different environment that hasn’t kept pace.”
Kittle responded to Vine’s questions about Flint’s future viability given the water crisis, noting
Flint is a Munetrix customer.
“They were pulling themselves back up the slope in terms of economic recovery and development,” Kittle said. “But this water crisis – what a kick in the pants. Will people move to Flint for a job or open a business? Will families with kids buy a house and send their kids to Flint schools? The city needs population growth, economic development – people spending money. I don’t know how long this will take to turn around, but hopefully it is not a fatal blow.”
During the interview, Kittle also noted that Flint’s public school district has about 5,00o students, down from 18,000 ten years ago, and questioned if the capacity of school districts surrounding Flint could continue to take on these students should they continue to migrate away from Flint City Schools.
Reflecting on Gov. Snyder’s term in office prior to the water crisis, Kittle said he has done a lot of really good things, quickly.
“The people in Lansing refer to what he is doing in dog years,” Kittle said. “Government typically works pretty slow and I wonder if the speed at which they are operating now might be putting too much stress on the system. Bureaucrats aren’t used to working like that for a sustained period of time, and this could possibly be one reason the Flint water crisis occurred.”
To listen to the full interview, go the WJR podcast.
Munetrix is the creator of the Munetrix (municipal metrics) cloud-based local government transparency tool and is among the nation’s largest aggregators of municipal and school district data, allowing subscribers to view public sector financial and demographic data in an easy to understand format and use that data to make meaningful and reliable budgets and financial projections. Munetrix is the only vendor source in Michigan endorsed by the state’s three major K-12 school associations, MASA, MASB and MSBO. Learn your community’s Munetrix Score at the Munetrix website.