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

Budget talks begin; school reserves questioned

1 March -- Talks on the state budget deficit for this year and next, including what to do about the hole in the School Aid Fund, have begun in earnest now that Governor Granholm's budget proposals have been introduced as bills in the legislature. (For details on the budget proposals, see our summary on this page.) The Governor and Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) have had their first face-to-face meeting about the budget after an earlier exchange of letters.

What's up with school funding?

For a fuller discussion of how the school funding system works, and how it came to look this way, check out this article originally posted on one local PTO's online conference. The article reviews the politics behind Proposal A and what's happened since then. It also has links to some very helpful documents. The article is reprinted below, with permission.
Posted October 12, 2006. With the run-up to the November elections and the (muted) buzz about Proposal 5, I thought this would be a good time to wax eloquent a bit about how our schools are funded.

Why can't we?

One of the comments I hear most often about programs at our public schools goes something like, "We're such a well-off community, why can't we have..." and insert your preferred item: smaller classes, more teachers, foreign language, more enrichment, or any of a dozen others. Another thing I hear, more quietly, from many families at Burns Park is, "Do we have to have all the PTO fundraisers?" The answer to the second question is "Yes," and the reason for that answer has a lot to do with the answer to the first question. And for that answer, we need to go back in time a bit - thirteen years to be precise.

Senate GOP leader wants to avoid mid-year cuts

23 February -- Press reports indicate that while Senate Republicans are keeping their alternate budget proposals "close to the vest," a few details are seeping out. MIRS News, a state politics news service, reports that Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) indicated that the GOP plan would not take back the per-pupil increase for schools originally budgeted for this year, avoiding mid-year cuts.

Dems submit bill for FY08 school aid appropriations

22 February -- An appropriations bill on school aid for FY2008 was introduced yesterday by Sens. Michael Switalski (D-Roseville) and minority leader Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek). The bill increases spending from the School Aid Fund by 2.9% to $11.986 billion, raising per-pupil foundation allowances by $178 from what was originally budgeted for the current year. (This brings the "basic" foundation allowance to $7,286 from $7,085, since the $23 "equity payment" for low-spending districts was factored in as well.)

Background on school funding

To understand the current debates about school funding, it really helps to know how the current system works, how it came about, and earlier attempts to fix it. In this document we'll provide links for more information on how school funding currently works in Michigan, and proposals for change.

System created by Proposal A

Senate GOP kills executive order

15 February -- According to press reports, the Republican majority on the Senate Appropriations committee has rejected Gov. Granholm's executive order proposing limited budget cuts. Republican Senators objected to the fact that the Governor's plan depended on new taxes to make up much of the shortfall in revenue. The defeat of the executive order also leaves school funding in limbo.

Governor's February 2007 budget proposal

Governor Jennifer Granholm's budget proposal for the 2008 fiscal year includes a number of provisions that affect school aid, including changes which would help plug the funding shortfall for the current year (fiscal 07). Below are some extracts from the release on the budget proposal with some commentary; a full analysis of the budget, and legislative action, will follow soon.

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