Monday, November 8, 2010

Legislature has to FIX EduJob Funding Fiasco

Good Morning Fellow WLEA Members –
I don’t know about you, but I believe I have a post-election exhaustion or let –down or malaise……not quite sure what to call it. In fact, I don’t even want to talk about it! Right now, anyway. However, there are a few things that should be moving ahead in the next 7 or 8 weeks and we need to keep our eyes and ears open!

About a week ago, I attended an MEA Training session called “Tough Times Bargaining BOOT CAMP”. Although we are not in a tough times bargaining at this point, there are TWO issues confronting us in the near future! Today I will tell you about the issues effecting school funding!

Edu Job Money (Obama Bucks – Federal Ed Jobs Program)
Michigan submitted their application for “FEDERAL ED JOBS PROGRAM” (commonly called “Obama Bucks” or “Edu Jobs Fund”) in September. States could choose to distribute the funds according to Title I populations or according to the state’s “primary funding formula.” Michigan checked the box to say they would use their “primary funding formula”. This formula is basically a 2x (2 times) funding formula. Meaning essentially that districts under a certain per pupil funding level would receive twice as much as districts above that same per pupil funding level. Walled Lake is above the cut off point for 2X funding.

On October 1st, the Michigan legislature, using the Edu Job money, allocated a flat $154 per pupil to Michigan school districts. They did not follow their “primary funding formula”, nor did they allocate the funds according to Title I students. They did allocate $66 million from another funding source according to the state’s primary funding formula (schools received either $23 or $46 per pupil).

The Michigan legislature ignored a key guideline in the funding requirements. The EduJobs bill made it clear the states could not "supplant" money that should come out of a state's education budget. Since the base foundation grant is supposed to include the $154 per pupil, Michigan could not use the federal money to replace or "supplant" it. The federal government sent a letter to the Governor notifying her that the Michigan legislature did not follow the rules. If Governor Granholm had not vetoed the $154 per pupil restoration, Michigan would have lost ALL the federal funds allocated to the state under the EduJobs bill. Michigan's funds would have been redistributed to the other 49 states and Michigan would have received $0. The Michigan Legislature will need to return to Lansing now that the election is over and change their application. In most likelihood they will need to follow the 2x formula to be able to receive the Federal money.

What does this mean for Walled Lake?
Under the $154 per student plan, Walled Lake would have receive approximately $2.7 million dollars. Under the 2X formula, Walled Lake will receive approximately $1.7 million dollars.

Oddly, Walled Lake is considered a “rich” district….receiving $8635 per pupil under ideal conditions. Compare this to other “RICH” districts – Southfield receives $11, 291 per pupil; Farmington receives $10, 365 per pupil; Birmingham receive $12, 244 per pupil. How can we be considered a “rich” district?????