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.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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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
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    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
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    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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