K-12 Budget Doesn't Reflect Investment in Education

Schools are being held hostage to the outrageous antics and games with the school budget. Yesterday the state treasurer sent a memo to Gov. Granholm indicating that the predicted shortfall in the School Aid Fund (SAF) was much larger than expected. According to the memo, Treasury now estimates that the shortfall will be approximately $264 million for fiscal year 2009-10.

To put that in perspective, that’s an additional $165 per pupil reduction on top of the $165 cut that the legislature passed last week. Without serious action in coming months, schools face total cuts of $330 per pupil.

It’s an understatement to say that this is a devastating blow to public education. The legislature needs to quit playing games and pass a budget so schools can focus on student achievement. Schools can’t absorb the magnitude of cuts without severe consequences to students.

“It’s time the legislature gets serious about educating the 1.6 million children in the state of Michigan,” said Kathy Hayes, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards. “With these types of cuts, it’s no longer possible for schools to offer high quality programming. With the legislature disinvesting in public education, Michigan sends a loud message that our future is no longer important.”

Districts have already worked extremely hard to lower their expenses, and keeping districts in limbo is an impediment to prudent planning. There’s a structural problem with the revenue system in Michigan. Without long-term solutions to this problem, we risk leaving generations of Michiganders behind. Our race to the top will be irrelevant when we’re trapped in a sprint to the bottom.

For questions please contact Don Wotruba or Peter Spadafore. Visit MASB’s online advocacy center—e-Vocate—to contact your legislator.