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

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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