Last night MIRS (Michigan Independent Research Service) reported that the Michigan Senate K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee has proposed a $340 per-pupil cut in funding. Although this is $130 less than Governor Snyder’s proposal, it is devastating to schools nonetheless.
They claim they want to “mitigate” more extensive cuts to K-12 education. Yet, to fund this lesser cut, they have proposed several other cuts; i.e., half-day kindergartens would no longer be funded at the full foundation rate. Another proposal was to more extensively cut funding for categorical spending. Overall, this is still a funding decrease for schools. REMEMBER, the funding in the K-12 School Fund could provide MORE than enough funding for schools EXCEPT the State’s intention is to raid the fund to send money to the General Fund
Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) is the chairperson of the Senate’s K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. When questioned by the MIRS service yesterday, he wouldn’t talk about details his committee was looking at. He did say he wanted to, “shore up funding for local school districts and provide for SOME categoricals". How does he plan to do this? He STILL plans to RAID THE State’s K-12 FUND, but to provide relief to school districts by placing a hard cap on health care costs. At this time, he is talking about legislation that REQUIRES all public employees to pay for 20 percent of their health care costs!
NOW, YOU ARE PERSONALLY PAYING for $1.6 billion tax cut FOR BUSINESSES!
We need to tell the Senate that shared sacrifice does NOT mean state employees paying for tax cuts for businesses, to the tune of $1.6 billion dollars.
We need to tell the Senate that the people of Michigan voted long ago to support schools with funds in the K-12 School Aid Fund and that their desire (and any of us who voted in those days) to fully fund schools should not be supplanted by any legislative group who wishes to do so. Schools could be adequately funded with the money available!
Today, PLEASE BLAST The Senate K-12 Appropriations Committee Members. Please use your home emails: Copy and paste the letter below (yes, it is long....you are more than welcome to modify or write your own!), and send it to the committee members I have listed at the bottom of this post!
Dear Michigan Senator,
I have become aware of your position as a member of the K-12 Appropriations Subcommittee in the Michigan Senate.
One of my biggest concerns at this time is the proposed raid on the State School Aid Fund. There is sufficient money in the fund to give K-12 education adequate funding, if not even an increase in funding. To cut K-12 funding and to give it to community colleges and other schools of higher ed is draconian.
First, the colleges have the ability to raise revenue in other ways, while K-12 schools do not. Secondly, schools in the K-12 arena, especially Walled Lake (my local school), are down to their last dollar - literally. The cuts they will have to make will undo all of the fine programs we have in place; like interventions for students who need extra help and the exemplary curriculum work that happens here and makes our schools some of the best in the state. This is just the beginning! Between proposed loss of revenues and increased costs, Walled Lake is looking at $24 million in cuts before next year.
Even if the teachers took a 10% pay cut, it would only save a little over $7 million. This is less than a third of the money Walled Lake is looking to cut. You are literally creating a deficit district with your School Aid Fund policy if it is carried out.
The most outrageous piece to me is that the true reason for making these cuts to education is to free up General Fund dollars so our state government can give a $1.6 BILLION dollar tax break to businesses. This is unfathomable. How can a multi-billion dollar tax break for businesses be more important than a quality education for all children?
Most importantly, by making this cut in education by shifting funds out of the School Aid Fund, you are totally violating the wishes of those who voted for the initiation of Proposal A in the 1990’s. It was a decision of the electorate and should be respected as such. The most important function of a state government is to insure that schools are funded to do the best job possible.
I implore you to NOT shift funds for K-12 Education to the General Fund. Use the money in that fund in the way the electorate intended……funding K-12 Education.
Here are the addresses to use! Depending on your computer, you might be able to just click on the email address, or copy and paste the address to your email!
Sen. Howard Walker, R - Grand Traverse - Chair
Sen. John Pappageorge, R - Troy
Sen. Bruce Caswell, R - Hillsdale - Vice Chair
Sen. Hoon Yung Hopgood, D - Taylor - Minority Vice Chair