Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Letter From Ellen Cogen Lipton - Democratic

This is a letter that a member forwarded to me that was written by Ellen Cogen Lipton - Democratic House Representative for Huntington Woods. It is a far different letter than the one below that was received from Hugh Crawford, Republican from Wixom/South Lyon.

Thank you for contacting my office and I appreciate your thoughts regarding the proposed budget and tax plans currently making their way through the legislature. Let me start by apologizing for the delay in responding to you. The concerns of my constituents are of utmost importance. Please be assured that I share your concerns, and will continue fighting against these most devastating budget and tax plan. This budget is a disaster, and its consequences will be felt for years to come, if allowed to become law.

Our state needs an economic plan to bring back jobs… instead we get a massive giveaway to business with no accountability and no guarantee of a single job. We get a 1,000 page budget bill that no one can hope to understand before voting on it. We get budgets that end proven job-producing programs like the Film Credits, and end funding for business incubators that help entrepreneurs set up shop and grow, and eliminate $25 million for recruiting new businesses to our state.

Furthermore, we get budgets that no longer require state departments to report to the Legislature on much of their activity, so there are no checks and balances and oversight is greatly reduced as to how our taxpayer dollars are spent. And at the last minute, instead of department-by-department budgets – which is how budgets are traditionally approved – House Republicans have pushed through one bill that funds all of state government and one bill that funds all public education in Michigan.

And now that the General Fund budget is being rolled into one huge bill, House Democrats have again not been consulted on the format or content, and the one hard-fought Democratic amendment that did win approval earlier in the process is being stripped out of the budget. In total, we offered 123 amendments. That's 123 opportunities to protect our children's education, seniors and families. Instead, Republicans delivered 123 rejections that will hurt Michigan.

Regarding the School Aid Fund, the House-passed budget slashed $1.1 billion in K-12 funding. These are cuts of at least $426 per student with some school districts being hit with cuts as large as $1,558 per student. When school aid cuts were first proposed in January, we were looking at a $650 million positive fund balance. Just last week, that number was updated to an almost $900 million surplus. Overall, the newly announced "budget deal" that slightly lessens the blow to our children is barely any better than the initial proposal.

As I traveled this entire state attending rallies, education forums and town hall meetings, I met with thousands of our residents who consistently said one thing…"Don't cut our schools." A recent survey by Michigan State University's Institute for Public Policy and Social Research found that the majority of people did not want lawmakers to cut education funding. By an overwhelming margin, respondents chose education funding (53 percent) as the last place to cut versus the next closest response (economic development at 17 percent).

This is not an economic plan; this is a handout to corporate special interests and CEO's.
This budget is full of difficult cuts that are contrary to the message the Governor gave at his inaugural, contrary to his local government message, and contrary to the message he just delivered regarding education.

The Republican tax plan that was forced through the House takes Michigan in the wrong direction. This new tax structure for our state does not represent the “shared sacrifice” that the Governor promised. Instead, it balances the budget on the backs of our children, our seniors and our working families – all to pay for an 82 percent tax break for corporations, with no guarantee of new jobs. And if this new tax structure takes effect, the residents of Michigan will NOT be able to repeal it, because the Republicans have again included a token expenditure [$100] that strips Michigan voters of their constitutional rights.

It is clear the House Republicans don't have any interest in making this a fair economic plan that will help Michigan rebound. It is also clear they don't care about accountability and transparency in state government – two things they previously trumpeted as critical to the process. I want you to know that even at this late juncture, I'm still committed to working in a bipartisan manner and finding compromise where we can to pass a fair and balanced budget. I hope my colleagues and the Snyder administration will join me so that we can find solutions that work for the people of Michigan.

Again, thank you for contacting my office with your thoughts and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in the future about this or any other concerns you may have.



A Letter Received from Republican, Rep. Crawford

This letter was received by a WLEA member in reply to their request to Representative Hugh Crawford (Rep. - Wixom)to adequately fund education.

Since the start of the new legislature, many changes have been proposed, debated and voted on. This week, we will reach the goal Governor Snyder and the legislature has set: establishing our state budget before June 1st. With upwards of 20 budgets discussed, conference committees have been formed and are currently continuing the discussion pertaining to the proposed adjustments to budgeting for every state department. I must say that the education funding has been discussed the most. I have read all the e-mails received, listened to all messages and as a member of the House Education Committee, I have been privileged to hear testimony on all of these issues.

Our state can no longer support the operating expenses our local school districts are incurring, nor can our tax dollars support the uncontrollable healthcare and retirement expenses. This year the House of Representatives has proposed legislation that modifies and enhances the current system.

I have said from the beginning that I do not believe in transferring the School Aid Fund from K-12 to higher education. I have three 20J schools in my district and they have been hit the hardest in recent years with the cuts that have been made. With that being said, I do agree with the direction that Governor Snyder is proposing our state take. For too long, the taxpayers have been funding retirement and healthcare costs while programs are cut on a yearly basis, additional fees are placed on the students and their parents, and the "last-in" teachers are the first pink slipped. Many school districts have been forced into situations where at most, only 20% of their funding can be utilized in the classrooms because over 80% of their operating costs are salary and benefits for employees.

I voted no to HB 4325 that concerned the SAF transfer. However, the bill passed the House and the transfer of funds will be implemented in the new budget. The main issue now is coming to a compromise on the proposed budgets and allotting as much money that the House can reasonably ask of our state with several other state departments receiving cuts in the double digits including Higher Education's cut of roughly 15%. When the unanticipated tax return amount was confirmed on May 16th, over half of this money was placed into the K-12 fund. Governor Snyder is assigning a great deal of control to the local school districts in how they chose to fund their schools. The tax return money placed in K-12 funding has diminished the cut to a less than 2%, and less than a $100 per pupil cut with the stipulation that school districts must implement 4 of the 5 best practices outlined in the bill. These include having a 90/10 premium share for employee health benefits, providing that the district act as the policy holder for health insurance policies, having the district enter into consolidation plans, obtaining competitive bids on at least one non-instructional service, and making a public dashboard with financial indicators.

I support our children. I support providing our children with the highest level of education that can be provided. I support giving our children a promising future. Please know that I have taken your thoughts into consideration throughout this 6 month process and if no changes are made to the current proposed budget compromises with regard to education funding, I plan on voting yes.

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns.

Hugh D. Crawford

Report on State School Funding from the MEA Economist

The report included below is what was received yesterday from the MEA’s Economist, Ruth Beier. THIS IS NOT good news! Several of you have sent letters to me today that you have received from legislators describing the same scenario. This is not good news. It means that to gain the extra funding available, school districts will have to jump through "hoops", not so accurately named, "best practices.

In summary, the budget agreed upon puts into place almost the entire $470 per pupil reduction as originally proposed weeks ago. This bill does allow schools to earn a $100 payment by meeting 4 of 5 “best practices” (Ruth outlines them in her report). The bill does give schools another $100 which they now require schools to use that toward retirement obligations and NOTHING else.

Please read this report from Ruth.

The School Aid Act Conference Committee completed its conference report. The bill now goes back to both houses for approval and then to the Governor. Either house can make changes, but that is not likely (according to Ruth Beier, MEA Economist). The Governor could veto all or some of the bill

Summary of State Aid Act as approved by the Conference Committee (SB 183 C-1)

1) Eliminates declining enrollment categorical, retains 3-year pupil count averaging language for small, rural districts.

2) Changes blended count to 10/90

3) Only get full time FTE for Kindergarten if student attends full day, beginning in 2012-13

4) Reduces foundation allowance by $470 per pupil.

5) Gives districts $100 per pupil for best practices, which means meeting 4 OF 5 of the following (not all 5)
a. Employee pays at least 10% of insurance premium
b. District is policy holder of the insurance policy
c. Adopt a service consolidation plan if not already.
d. Obtain competitive bids for 1 non instructional service that costs more than $50k
e. Puts more data on a "dashboard" that the public can see (MEAP, Fund Balance, other

6) Appropriates $155 million statewide to districts based each district's portion of total statewide payroll. This money is to be used to defray cost of MPSERS. This averages to $100 per pupil, but varies.

7) Eliminates Bilingual categorical

8) Creates a MPSERS Reserve fund in the School Aid Fund-- similar to reserve a portion of the School Aid Fund balance. The Act does not say what this money is to be used for.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A BUSY WEEKEND supporting Educators and Educational Funding!

The Grade In at 12 Oaks on Sunday

Thank you to all the educators who spent some of this weekend's sunny weather to show the public what educators truly care about! We care about the education of children! We are professionals who involve ourselves in practices that improve education through our work on evaluating, planning, and collaborating with our fellow educators! To continue our great work, we need to be sure that our public schools are funded properly!

MEA Rally on the Capitol Lawn on Saturday!

Thank you to all who came to Lansing on Saturday to show their support for educational funding and for teachers being able to continue to have a voice in the decisions made about their profession and their lives.

All pictures have been posted the WLEA - Walled Lake Education Association Facebook page!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Could be some good news!

Today Gov. Rick SNYDER, Senate Majority Leader Randy RICHARDVILLE (R-Monroe) and House Speaker Jase BOLGER (R-Marshall) met to craft a budget deal that used about $700 million of what they called “one time money”.

With today’s deal, school per pupil cuts will only be an additional $99 on top of the $170 dollar cut carried over from last year. This $170 per pupil figure is money that was replaced with one time Federal money this past school year. The State refuses to be responsible for making up that piece of per pupil funding. With the $99 and $170 loss of per pupil funding, the total loss of school funding this year will “only be” $269 per student.

Gov. Rick SNYDER had proposed cutting schools by $470-per-pupil as part of his original '12 budget recommendation. $310 million is being put back into the K-12 school budget as part of the agreement announced today. $150 million will be given out on a per-pupil basis to districts that demonstrate "best practices”. While not definitively spelled out, it is suggested that it would include schools creating a "dashboard," bidding out non-instructional services and looking at employee benefit reforms. At this time, it appears that the Appropriations Committee will be allowed to spell out these “best practices”. However, this is a phrase Governor Snyder has used often when speaking of his plans for education. Will privatized instructional services and employee benefit reforms really be a “best practice” in educational reform?

The remaining $160 million must be used to help districts cover their retirement costs. This could be significant for all school districts because of the original 4% increase, to a total of 24% of salary the schools were to be required to pay toward employee retirement costs. How this is applied to retirement costs will need to be seen.

House Representatives Lisa Brown and Ellen Cogen Lipton were not impressed, releasing the following statement, “Our state can — and should — invest more in our schools, our children and our communities. We must also continue to stand strong against the Governor and Republicans who are forcing our children to foot the bill for an 82 percent tax break for corporations - with no guarantee of a single job.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UPDATE on the Senate Bill requiring 20% Payment of Health Care

The insurance bill (SJ 0007) requiring a 20% payment by the employee toward their health care costs did NOT reach the Senate floor today, but there is plenty of talk going on in the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee.

Sen. Mark JANSEN (R-Gaines Twp.) said he's making the case against including a hard cap on costs. For instance, a hard cap of $13,000 has been discussed. This would mean that, by law, a school district could pay no more than $13,000 toward each employee’s health care. Anything above that hard cap would be the responsibility of the employee. This amount could EXCEED a 20% payment and would subject an employee to any increase in costs in coming years.
Sen. Jansen has concern that the “hard cap” would cause the bill to “end up in court”, so he wants to keep the bill “clean”, as he says.

Senator Jansen also commented that there's a fairness issue; insurance costs more in Detroit than in the Upper Peninsula, meaning it could benefit outstate districts more than urban ones. However, many superintendents testified today that it would save their districts money. Other superintendents complained to the committee today that they would not benefit from SJ 0007 this year because they were in mid-contract and would not be able to implement a required payment until their contracts expired if it were to become law.

They are now predicting that the bill will come to the floor of the Senate on Wednesday.

Tell your senator that Senate Bill 7 will not solve Michigan’s budget crisis. Tell your senator that you have paid for your health insurance over the years by giving up pay raises and with savings realized through reducing your coverages! Tell your senator this should be up to individual school district contract negotiations!

WRITE Immediately or CALL NOW! Please use your cell phones or home emails!

Sen. Mark Jansen - R - Gaines Township - Committee Chair

Sen. Joe Hune - R - Hamburg Township (Livingston County)

State Senator Mike Kowall R-White Lake Twp

Sen. Howard Walker, R - Grand Traverse

Sen. John Pappageorge, R – Troy

Sen. Bruce Caswell, R - Hillsdale

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

TODAY!!!!! Senate May vote to require TEACHERS TO PAY 20% OF INSURANCE

It appears that the State Senate will vote on Senate Bill 7 today.

This bill would require employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their health plan. This bill strips local school boards of the authority to decide how best to manage health care costs, something that should be decided locally through collective bargaining. This bill is before the full Senate.

Tell your senator that Senate Bill 7 will not solve Michigan’s budget crisis. Tell you senator that you have paid for your health insurance over the years by giving up pay raises and with savings realized through reducing your coverages! Tell your senator this should be up to individual school district contract negotiations!

WRITE Immediately or CALL NOW! Please use your cell phones or home emails!

State Senator Mike Kowall R-White Lake Twp

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

MIRS (Michigan Independent Research Service) BREAKING NEWS:

Revenues for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 are $500 million flusher than was estimated in January, according to today's Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC)

The exact number agreed to by the Treasury Department, House Fiscal Agency (HFA) and Senate Fiscal Agency (SFA) is $498.6 million. Estimates don't include the tax overhaul passed by the Legislature last week.

The General Fund is up $356.9 million and the School Aid Fund is up $141.7 million.

The tax plan does not impact FY '11. However, it will mean $154.7 million more for the General Fund for a net impact of $511.6 million.
The SAF will lose $689.9 million under the tax plan for a net impact of a $548.3 million loss.
The combined net impact of the tax plan is a loss of $36.7 million.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Late Night REPORT - Please WRITE OR CALL!

From MIRS (Michigan Independent Research Service –

HB 4361 – The budget bill in the Senate – MIRS reports that there are 17 committed "yes" votes and three undecideds who are leaning that way. Please be sure to write your senator!

See the post below for email addresses and a sample letter.


Lawmakers on Thursday are expected to vote on separate proposals that strip local school districts of big decisions related to health care costs and privatization.
MEA staff and leaders will be at the Capitol Thursday to lobby against these bills -- and your legislative contacts are vital to our efforts to derail or modify these bills.

Here's what you need to know about the proposals:
Senate Bill 7 would require employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their health plan. This bill strips local school boards of the authority to decide how best to manage health care costs, something that should be decided locally through collective bargaining.
This bill is before the full Senate.

Act now: Contact your state senator immediately to ask him/her to vote NO on Senate Bill 7.
WRITE or CALL YOUR SENATOR TODAY! (Please use your cell phones and home emails!)

Dear Senator –
I would like to urge you to vote NO on Senate Bill 7. Local school districts should have the right to decide how to best manage their health care costs. The collective bargaining in our district has always resulted in savings to our district on health care. We want to retain our rights to make these determinations at the local level.

People to write:

State Senator Mike Kowall R-White Lake Twp, 517-373-1758

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

OR CLICK BELOW TO GO TO THE MEA Legislation Action Center for other Senators!


Senate working on HB 4361 - WRITE NOW!!!!!

News on the Michigan Budget Bill (HB 4361) in the Senate-
As reported by Michigan Independent Research Service last night:

HB4361 is being considered in the Senate:

The original plan was to kick HB 4361 out of committee on Wednesday after two days of hearings. Now that might be Thursday -- the day the bill was supposed to be before the full Senate. It appears two of the Republican members on the panel -- Sen. Patrick COLBECK (R-Canton) and Sen. David ROBERTSON (R-Grand Blanc) -- are "no" votes, which would mean the bill can't get out of committee. A source told MIRS today that Robertson railed against the bill in caucus today as a tax increase. It appears there still aren't the votes to pass it in the full Senate, so waiting until Thursday will give leadership more time to get the 19 minimum votes needed for passage, which would mean Lt. Gov. Brian CALLEY would have to break the tie.

The pension tax compromise remains the sticking point in the bill. Calley argued that the current tax system is unfair because seniors -- the fastest-growing population -- are exempt. He said Michigan is heading for a "demographic explosion" and by 2030 nearly 20 percent of Michigan's population will be retired.

On Monday, the House Fiscal Agency released its quarterly Revenue Review which showed that the state has collected $455 million more in total state revenue than was projected in January of this year. These are actual revenues, not projections and are in addition to any additional revenue that comes out as part of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on Monday, May 16.

TAKE ACTION and send an email to your lawmakers and tell them to use this existing money to offset cuts to K-12 education. FIND ADDRESSES OF SENATORS UNDER THE LETTER!!! Please use your home email!

A Sample letter:

Dear Senator:

Use surplus to restore education cuts.
On Monday, the House Fiscal Agency released its May 2011 Revenue Review which showed that the state has collected $455 million more in total state revenue than was projected in January of this year. These are actual revenues, not projections and are in addition to any additional revenue that comes out as part of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) on Monday, May 16.

Please use the existing surplus revenue and any additional revenue that comes out of the May CREC to backfill the devastating cuts that the legislature has proposed.

Our children's education is too important for these games. Thank you in advance for your support and I look forward to hearing your response.


The Governor!!!!
PHONE: (517) 373-3400 PHONE: (517) 335-7858 - Constituent Services

State Senator Mike Kowall R-White Lake Twp, 517-373-1758

Other "KEY” Senators to write:

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

HB 4325 Passes 57-53

The Michigan House approved deep cuts for public education shortly after 8 PM tonight.

They slashed nearly $1 billion from K-12 schools statewide and 15 percent from community college and university budgets.

The House voted 57-53 for House Bill 4325. Under the plan, K-12 districts will receive hundreds less in state aid per pupil for 2011-12 to pay for huge tax breaks for business.

Some reports say that Gov. Snyder visited the House because the Republicans could not muster the votes to pass the bill........I have seen no reports about how he maneuvered the passage of this bill.

The six Republican NO votes were Reps. Hugh CRAWFORD, Kurt HEISE, Holly HUGHES, Andrea LaFONTAINE, Pat SOMERVILLE and Dale ZORN.

The House and Senate must now reconcile competing funding plans. More information to come.

Our legislative blasts, I believe, changed the vote of Representative Crawford! Thank you to everyone who wrote and called!

To read some of the responses Walled Lake staff received from their BLASTS, please read the post below!

Responses from Legislators on Thursday, May 5, 2011

Posted at 4:00 PM Thursday night:

A HUGE thank you to everyone who is writing their legislators!!! Thank you to all of you who are sharing responses you are receiving!

I believe your letters ARE making a difference! I am including a few responses that people have forwarded to me this afternoon. I think Rep. Crawford in Novi has been a busy guy today! He has a few misconceptions, but you have all made a dent in his beliefs about school funding!

2:09 PM, 5/5/11 - From Rep. Crawford:
Dear Ms. ---
At this time, with new legislation introduced, specifically HB4325, with regard to the transfer of SAF to Community Colleges. I plan on voting no.
Hugh D. Crawford, State Representative, 38th District

A second email from Rep. Crawford - 2:09:18 pm, 5/5/11

Dear Mr. ,
Thank you for contracting my office with your concern about the future funding of Michigan's education system.

In the recent months, there has been much speculation pertaining to Governor Snyder's proposed education budget. Many have heard of cuts well over $1,000 per pupil, the end of collective bargaining and attacks on teachers. On April 27th, the Governor presented his education speech in Detroit, I now feel confident in responding to your concerns after listening to his points and gaining a better understanding of his future goals within the education system.

For the past 15 years, $4.4 billion in General Fund revenue has been transferred to the School Aid Fund which increased the per pupil allowance. While these increases were occurring, school enrollment was decreasing, which is a clear indication that the support for K-12 exists within our legislature.

Some allege that the cuts to education will be between $800- $1000 per pupil over the next year. This statement is not accurate. The actual cut will amount to $300 per pupil. An additional $170 cut in per pupil funding from federal stimulus funds was allocated to this year's budget at the request of superintendents, school boards, and bargaining units across the state. This one-time money is, therefore, unavailable for the next year. Any remaining amount that some consider a cut is the amount each school district must pay to compensate for the currently underfunded health and retirement plan benefits that have been incurred by school boards for the benefit of school employees.

The 3 largest contributors to the SAF are the state sales tax, the state income tax, and the state education property tax. All of these are directly related to, and affected by, the strength of our economy. If we can create an environment where businesses can thrive, all of these sources will produce more revenue for the fund. Keeping this in mind and the characteristics of the district I represent, I believe that the SAF should not be transferred to the Community Colleges or Higher Education, and will not vote for that piece of legislation if it is a stand-alone vote.

Re-inventing is a verb that Governor Snyder has been using to explain many of the reforms and adjustments he has proposed in the budget, education included. Through his proposed changes, he is hoping to attain a higher level of excellence among our students and a higher quality education provided by our teachers. He spoke about implementing a very forward-thinking program called P-20 which includes pre-school through part of college to ensure our children get the support that they need to be college-ready. Other programs he suggests starting are "Any Time, Any Place, Any Way, Any Pace Program", a "Degrees Matter" system, and to participate in the Gallup Student Poll to aid in the assessment, effectiveness and quality of education the state provides and promotes to students. He also suggests revamping the tenure qualifications currently in place to focus on a teacher's ability, skills, and improvements made from year to year, evaluations would also be executed yearly. Governor Snyder is attempting to replace the "cookie-cutter" education currently administered to a more flexible style of teaching that implements technology, craftsmanship and flexible hours for those students who seek these changes in their education.

Given that the State of Michigan is $1.4 billion dollars in deficit, we can no longer sustain the current system. Changes in the way our schools are funded need to start occurring at the district level. For the sake of transparency below I have attached links to our schools and a document that pertains to Novi Community Schools. These links may also be found on each school's individual website.

I am reading all information I am receiving with regard to the proposed education adjustments, including constituent concerns. I believe that our students and their education is the number one priority in Michigan's education system. Please understand that any reduction in the proposed cuts can only cause greater cuts to another department in our state. Discussion will continue in the weeks to come and I will keep your concerns in mind as the proposal progresses.

Thanks again for the e-mail.


From Terese:
I am particularly concerned about the paragraph above that I have changed to RED.
First, the $170 wasn't one time money from the Federal Government until last year when our legislators chose to use the Federal $$$ to cover what they had cut from education themselves! And that part about "under funded health and retirement plan benefits incurred by school boards"..........we don't bargain retirement plans. That is done at the state level!

Plus, they are ONLY underfunded because the state underfunds schools. They weren't underfunded when school districts could raise their own money. They don't need to be underfunded either! It is a choice the legislature and the governor have proposed. In their proposals they have MANUFACTURED an underfunding of the schools through the proposed shift of funds from the School Aid Fund to the General Fund! To have this rep turn around and blame it on the schools is beyond belief!

Here is a third letter that a WLEA member received in response to their BLAST! This one is much more education friendly!

Dear Education Advocate,
I'm emailing today to let you know that the vote on school budget cuts could happen as soon as tomorrow, Thursday, May 5. I'm strongly opposed to this plan that could potentially shift more than a billion dollars away from our struggling schools.
Unfortunately, House printing rules do not allow me to use this email to suggest that you try to influence the vote of other House members or even provide you with detailed information on how you can contact other offices. However, I am confident that anyone passionate enough about this issue will find a way to make their voice heard.
As you are probably aware, I have been working with a number of my colleagues around the clock trying to stop the devastating cuts proposed for our public schools in the recent state budget. At education task force meetings across our district and around the state, we've heard from parents, students, and educators about how this raid on already strapped budgets could cost us jobs, drive up class sizes, and hurt our students' ability to compete.
There still may be a chance to change some minds, but we need to act now. Thank you for your support and work on this critical issue.
State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton 27th House District

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


The Michigan House is due to vote on the funding bill for education today. There is some indication that some of the Republican Representatives are balking at the magnitude of the cuts to education. USE YOUR INFLUENCE - Write!

Find the sample letter and addresses below:

Dear Michigan House Representative,
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.

Most disgusting 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 $1.8 BILLION dollar tax break to businesses. This is unfathomable to me. 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 of key Republicans to BLAST! Depending on your computer, you might be able to just click on the email address, or copy and paste the address to your email!

1) Rep. Bill Rogers (R) – Chair - Brighton

2) Rep. Hugh Crawford (R) - Wixom

3) Rep. Eileen Kowall (R) - White Lake

4) Rep. Phil Potvin (R) - Cadillac

5) Rep. Earl Poleski (R) - Jackson

6) Rep. Jon Bumstead (R)- Newago

7) Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton - Huntington Woods

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Grade In!

The Grade In at 12 Oaks Mall was dominated by Walled Lake Educators!

Thank you to all of you who came to the mall today for the GRADE IN! I have published all my pictures to the WLEA Facebook page, but have included a few here as well.

During the Grade In, I spoke to family from Western, fellow staff members and a School Board member who came to support the educators in their endeavor to show that an educator's job goes well beyond the times we all are in the buildings!

NEXT GRADE IN - Sunday, May 22nd, 12 Oaks Mall Food Court!