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.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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