2011.05-04 Michael Osborne: Governor's budget will devastate school districts

Written by David Green.

Governor Snyder’s proposed budget, if enacted, will be devastating to our local school districts and our students. We fully understand the severity of the economic issues facing Michigan, and while we agree with several of the Governor’s proposed policy changes, his budget is something we cannot accept.

His proposed budget will reduce our funding by $470 per pupil. Additionally, the increase in the state mandated retirement rate will push the per pupil reduction to the equivalent of more than $700 for each student in Lenawee County. This represents a total countywide reduction of $11,443,600. This is one of the largest proposed cuts to education by any Governor in Michigan’s history.

The Governor’s proposal would transfer almost $1 billion from the School Aid Fund to the State General Fund to help balance the General Fund Budget. If this happens, it will be our school tax dollars at work in places other than local public K-12 schools. We’ve heard a lot about “shared sacrifice,” but schools are facing a 7.3 percent cut, the largest of any portion of the State budget, while 10 other budgets, including the Department of Corrections, are seeing increases.

This diversion of K-12 school aid funds breaks a promise made to Michigan voters when Proposal A was approved in 1994. Proposal A allowed the State to take over school funding, and in exchange, local taxpayers agreed to give up their right to raise millage rates to operate their local schools. Now the Governor, and many of our State legislators, want to ignore the promise made in 1994.

If this proposed K-12 education budget is enacted, the ramifications will be severe and will directly impact Lenawee County’s students and Michigan’s future.  We need to send a loud and clear message to Lansing, Rep. Jenkins and Sen. Caswell: Please reject this proposal and try again!

– Mike Osborne and the county’s other 10 school superintendents

  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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