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Our take on developments in school funding and policy.

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:

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

Letters from the trenches

Public school officials have begun to speak out about the funding crisis which faces schools across the state. They not only decry the repeated resort to mid-year funding cuts, they also call for a reassessment of how public education is funded.

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