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

Granholm will cut schools by June 1 unless Legislature acts

An angry Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced today that she is warning school administrators that they will face $125 per pupil cuts starting June 1st unless the Legislature acts to find new revenue. The Governor laid the blame for the situation on Senate Republicans, who have so far resisted any effort to find new tax revenues to solve the deficits for the current fiscal year.

Governor to sign school aid bill for this year; hole remains

The state Senate yesterday gave its approval to a bill that closes about $300 million of the school-aid deficit for this year, even though it fails to account for $62 million of the deficit originally projected in January. State budget officials say Governor Granholm will sign the bill. Left unresolved is the question of how the growing school aid deficit, now reckoned to be an additional $150 million below the mark, will be handled.

In their own words: Jack Lessenberry

Jack Lessenberry, senior political analyst for Michigan Public Radio, posted a short but forceful essay on school funding in his web blog. I quote his opening paragraph below, but the whole essay is worth a read:
Here’s the question we’re all trying to avoid. Do we want public schools, or not? Do we want to be able to tell people that they can move to Michigan, and put their children in our schools?
You can find the full essay here:

House acts in late session; now the horsetrading begins

In a late night session so tense that it degenerated into 'trash talking,' the state House voted last night not to make per pupil cuts to public schools. While the vote on school aid was unusually bi-partisan, other bills considered last night - aimed at closing the State's general fund deficit - were voted up or down on nearly straight party lines and occasioned the verbal tussling.

Tax revenues continue to fall; schools warned of cuts

The news just keeps getting better and better. State officials are forecasting that state tax revenue for the rest of the year will end up even below the estimates which were revised downward in January. The state budget director has notified school districts across the state that, unless the Legislature agrees on measures to close the growing school funding gap, the governor will have no choice but to order substantial cuts to school funding - on the order of $90 to $125 per pupil.

House Dems propose smaller K12 increase, bigger equity payment, for FY08

Departing from the Governor's proposals, House Democrats have moved a bill that would increase foundation allowances by only $100 for next year, but give most districts an additional $100 equity payment. Governor's proposal trimmed The amended version of HB4359, the School Aid appropriations bill for fiscal 2008, passed the School Aid and Education Appropriations subcommittee on a party line vote. The bill increases overall spending on school aid by $295 million compared to this year, but comes in $42 million short of the Governor's original recommendation.

Speak out now to stop late cuts this year!

We sent this letter to Chmn. Cushingberry, other members of the House Appropriations Committee, Reps. Ebli (Monroe) and Warren (Ann Arbor), and Sens. Brater and Richardville, on April 5th. A copy of the final letter in PDF form is attached to this posting. Dear friends, As you may know, last week the Senate passed a bill, along party lines, that would cut $34 per pupil from school districts' allowances for this year. This and other cuts were part of an attempt by the Senate's Republican majority to close the School Aid Fund deficit of $377 million without any new revenues. While the $34 cut seems small, it is coming so late in the schools' fiscal years that it has the potential to be very destructive -- especially to districts which have little or no reserve.

Schools and the "T" word

Taxes. There, now I’ve said it. It’s a word no one wants to hear, especially now that Michigan’s economy seems to be sliding downhill. (And never in April.)

But wishing won’t make it go away. So here is the question:

Do we really have to pay more taxes to get decent schools? Don’t we pay enough already?

Well, it depends. What do you want your kids’ schools to look like ten years from now? What would you like our state’s economy to look like thirty years from now? That’s really the bottom line. To quote a colleague of mine, “You get what you pay for.”

What's next? Budget struggle moves to the House

In a deft reversal of spin, Republican lawmakers and allied "opinion leaders" are pushing the notion that Senate Republicans have taken leadership on the budget question, including school aid, by passing their two appropriations bills last week. It's the Democrats and the Governor, they argue, who should be called on the carpet for not presenting their plans.

How much was that deficit again?

25 March -- Numbers, numbers, everywhere. Lots of numbers have been tossed around -- $377 million deficit in the School Aid Fund, $220 per pupil reduction, and more -- but when you look at the details these numbers don't always seem to add up. Thanks to non-partisan staffers in Lansing (at the Senate and House Fiscal Agencies), information is available on the web that helps clear up some of the confusion, even if the underlying problems remain unchanged.

The Deficit

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