Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The SURPLUS in the School Aid Fund

There is a surplus in the State’s School Aid Fund…….it could be as much as $670 million dollars. And yet, this money may not come to K-12 Schools. In fact, last year, the “surplus” that was in the State School Aid Fund did NOT come to K-12 Schools. Last year the money was taken from the fund and given to the Community Colleges.

What creates this “surplus”? Basically the legislature holds down the support they give K-12 schools and calls what is left in the fund, the “excess”. Shouldn’t there be no excess? This money was designated to be spent for public schools and should be spent there. How can they manipulate this money?

Technically, and I am not an expert on State Funding ins and outs, but Community College funding is supposed to come from the General Fund, not the School Aid Fund. Using a “loop hole” or some other shenanigans that they are allowed to use, the State can take money from the School Aid Fund and give it to Community Colleges instead of using General Fund money. The General Fund is in deficit, no doubt, but is taking money from K-12 the answer? Not that I am for funding increases, but Community Colleges can raise tuition and charge other fees to make more money. K-12 Public schools can NOT raise tuition and can not charge fees for attendance. The only money we can go to the community and request is for bonds for buildings and sinking funds. These funds can not be used for salaries or insurance, etc. So, it can’t help reduce class size.

Our NEW GOVERNOR has already said that it seems reasonable to him to use the “excess” in the School Aid Fund to bolster community college funding. Pretty much he says that education is education.

But you can look around Walled Lake, is there really an “excess” of funding in our school district? Class sizes are beyond acceptable. I find it very hard to swallow that there is a “surplus” in the school aid fund, particularly when the funds from the ARRA program won’t be available next year to offset the loss of dollars that were sent to community colleges.

WE ALL NEED TO WRITE GOVERNOR SNYDER TODAY! You need to tell him there is no excess in funding of K-12 schools. Tell him:
1) Walled Lake lost over $4 million dollars in funding per year for the 20J cut.
2) Walled Lake class sizes are well over acceptable numbers. Tell him how many kids you have in your classrooms this year compared to previous years.
3) Tell him what these high class sizes mean to your teaching and other services you provide.
4) Tell him that the citizens in Michigan designated this money for K-12 Education and for the state to send it to a college that has the ability to charge tuition is unacceptable.

Here is how to contact Governor Snyder:
Please be sure to use your HOME EMAILS and/or CELL or HOME PHONES!

PHONE: (517) 373-3400
PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services
FAX:(517) 335-6863