A top administrator in the Brighton Area Schools will be leaving the district she has served for the last 10 years in September.
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Maria Gistinger will be retiring from the Brighton Area Schools. Superintendent Greg Gray tells WHMI that he’ll be sorry to see Gistinger go. Gray says that Gistinger has made a huge impact on the Brighton Area School District, and has been given a good share of the credit for Brighton’s turnaround from enduring at one time a budget deficit of $15 million to its present status of having a healthy, $6.1 million fund balance at the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year on June 30th — a figure expected to increase further to $7 million by the end of the 2020 fiscal year.
Gistinger tells WHMI she’ll stick around until the end of September so she can prepare the audit to present to the district’s auditors. She expects her replacement to be hired by that time and hopes to be able to help her successor in the transition process. The position has been posted and the district is actively recruiting to fill the position by advertising the upcoming vacancy on the Michigan Association of School Administrators’ website.
Gistinger says, “It’s going to be tough to leave,” but says she will be departing with the assurance that she, in her words, “left the district in better shape than I found it.” Gistinger says restoring the Brighton district to financial health — without adversely affecting the education of students — was her top priority when she arrived, and that is the accomplishment of which she is most proud.
She says a big factor in Brighton’s financial recovery was instituting Shared Services – in which a school district provides courses and staff to smaller schools which have limited course offerings. The district offering the program gets to keep the recipient school’s “per pupil” state aid, and that’s what makes it financially beneficial.
When teacher salaries, the fee paid to the company which administers Shared Services and other costs are paid, the average yearly surplus for Brighton has been $3 million. that’s a substantial sum — one the district has been able to plug into one-time expenditures, such as new school boilers and new busses, as well as helping pay off the budget deficit.
Gistinger won’t actually be retiring, and, in fact, could be termed a workaholic. That’s because she actually has two full-time positions, the other as a professor at Walsh College, a business school in Troy, where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in accounting, and where she will continue to work. Gistinger has a PhD. from Michigan State University. She is married to Dennis Gistinger, a bank executive, and the couple has four grown children, which includes two psychologists, a lawyer and a college business major. (TT)