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State budget & taxes

State education and school aid budget, and revenue sources for schools

Facing a clouded future: options

h2. Part II: The problem, and a glimpse at solutions we might consider _In this two-part essay, MIPFS Executive Director Steve Norton reflects on the defeat of a proposed regional enhancement millage for the Washtenaw County area, and the choices it leaves school districts facing. While the details may differ, these same dilemmas face every school district in Michigan._ The poor state of Michigan's economy, combined with bad tax policy choices in earlier years, mean that school districts across Michigan are having to make huge cuts after years of belt-tightening. The defeat of the Washtenaw Schools Millage has removed one option we had to soften the blow. *But remember: we still have kids to educate. AAPS's total enrollment actually increased this year. Unlike, say, the auto industry, our schools are not in trouble because of a lack of customers. Demand for a good education has never been higher.* Moving forward, we have two issues on each of two levels: revenues and costs, at the local and state levels. Let's look at each.
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Facing a clouded future

h2. Part I: Reflections on the defeat of the Washtenaw Schools Millage _In this two-part essay, MIPFS Executive Director Steve Norton reflects on the defeat of a proposed regional enhancement millage for the Washtenaw County area, and the choices it leaves school districts facing. While the details may differ, these same dilemmas face every school district in Michigan._ We as a community will be faced with unpalatable choices as we try to close the $15 to $17 million budget gap that Ann Arbor's schools will face over the next year, with more cuts to come in the coming years. But before we can make sound choices, we must have a real understanding of what our schools do and what resources that requires. And in order to do _that,_ we must get past the caricatures which were painted during the millage campaign and instead speak to each other as real people with real concerns.
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House declines to pass K-12 budget with huge cuts

*Working against a midnight deadline, the State House could not muster enough votes to pass a School Aid budget that would have handed districts a $218 per pupil cut three months into their fiscal years.* The school aid bill, "HB 4447":http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?2009-HB-4447, emerged from a joint House-Senate conference committee last week including $482 million in cuts to K-12 funding, mostly in the form of a $218 per pupil funding cut. Part of the rationale for the deeper than expected cuts was to save some $180 million in Federal stimulus money to avoid deeper cuts next year - an election year. bq. Tell your lawmakers what you think! "Check out our action alert on the school aid budget by clicking here":http://capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=14099486.

It's September 10th: do you know where your school's funding is?

*Our lawmakers are once again at a crossroads, figuring out how to manage the tremendous decline in revenues for public services, including schools. Time is running out.*

Constant readers will notice the shortage of news on the state K-12 education budget in recent months. There is a good reason: there hasn't been any.

Proj. Washtenaw: impact of Senate cuts on WISD districts

The Senate Fiscal Agency has published estimates of the impact of cuts included in the Senate’s school aid budget bill, with detail for each district and public school academy (charter school) in the state. To get a copy of the full document, you can find it here.

As part of our Project Washtenaw effort, we’d like to highlight some of the potential consequences to districts in the Washtenaw ISD. The WISD includes districts with a wide range of characteristics, so the impact here can say a lot about what is happening state wide.

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Budget strugges continue; Senate cuts $413 million from K-12 schools next year

Rushing to get budget bills passed before adjourning for the July 4th recess, the state Senate on 24 June passed its version of the K-12 school aid budget bill. Senators made only minor changes to the amended bill reported from the Appropriations Committee and voted along party lines to approve a budget that includes some $413 million in cuts to schools, including a $110 per pupil cut to local school districts and the near-elimination of several early childhood and school-readiness programs. _More...._

Action Alert: Senate Appropriations cuts schools $174 million and guts early childhood programs

*The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to cut state aid to schools by $110 per pupil next year, and also to completely eliminate several state programs to assist early childhood education and school readiness.* "Click here to see our action alert message, and contact your legislators!":http://capwiz.com/miparentsforschools/issues/alert/?alertid=13575281

First look at the school aid budget, now with more stimulus!

*The House Appropriations subcommittee on School Aid held hearings on next year's school aid budget, and made preliminary decisions about how to use Federal stimulus money.* Final decisions for this year await further news on what's happening to revenue collections for school aid. As reported from the subcommittee, the bill uses Federal stimulus (ARRA) money to restore virtually all the cuts recommended in the Governor's original budget, which had been formed before the stimulus bills were passed.

Sinking fund bill passes House

*After some floor dramatics last week, the state House succeeded in passing HB 4313, which expands what school districts can purchase with sinking funds.* Opponents of the bill, mostly Republicans, argued to no avail that it would constitute an increase in property tax rates that required a super-majority vote in both houses. Other attempts to amend the bill at the last minute also failed. Even so, the legislation passed on a 74-35 vote, with eleven Republicans voting in favor while three Democrats voted against the bill. The bill now heads to the Senate, which allowed similar legislation to die at the end of last session.

Time to leave the "State of Denial"

*This Friday (9 January), the state's top economists will meet, as required by law, and project how much tax revenue Michigan will gather this fiscal year. That's when we find out how bad things are.* If, as most observers suspect, they estimate that revenues will be less than expected, the governor is required by law to propose spending cuts _for the current year_ to bring the budget into balance - unless the Legislature can find a way to plug the hole. This process includes K-12 school funding; the vast majority of the money to operate Michigan's schools comes from the state School Aid Fund and is supported by state-wide taxes. This is not the first time our schools have gone through this ringer, but maybe it should be the last?


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