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Status report: Where do we stand today? (Budget, Part I)

It has been a busy few months at both the state and local levels, and we at MIPFS have fallen behind in our reporting on state-wide issues. In an effort to remedy that, these status reports will give brief summaries of what has happened on the school funding front over the last few months. More detailed reports on each of these issues are coming in the next weeks. In these reports, we'll cover three areas: The school aid budget cuts for 2009-10, legislation that was part of Michigan's Race to the Top application, and school funding-related issues in the current 2010-11 budget debate.

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.

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 moves

*The House version of the sinking fund bill was reported out by the Education committee yesterday, coming much closer to passage in the Democrat-controlled chamber.*

Departments: 

Strange Days, Indeed - School cuts disallowed?

*State officials are saying that cuts to schools may be disallowed under the federal stimulus legislation.*

Departments: 

Once more into the (sinking fund) breach

State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) has once again introduced a bill that would broaden the use of sinking funds by school districts. "As we discussed in this article":http://www.miparentsforschools.org/node/95 and in a "legislative wrap-up below":http://www.miparentsforschools.org/node/106, sinking funds are property-tax supported funds earmarked for school capital projects.
Departments: 

MASB discovers CapWiz!

As part of a new effort to beef up grassroots lobbying efforts, the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) rolled out a "new advocacy web site powered by CapWiz":http://capwiz.com/masb/home/, a grassroots advocacy system offered by Washington, DC-based "Capitol Advantage":http://capitoladvantage.com/.

Departments: 

Legislative wrap-up

*While the economic news was bad, school funding didn't take a huge hit in 2008.* Part of this was because of the increase in income tax rates for FY08 (really a restoration of the rates in effect a few years ago), and because of earmarking from the new Michigan Business Tax. *The other reason is that Michigan as a whole has been losing students*, and since state money is paid out on a per-pupil basis, that means the state's overall obligations are lower. That's small comfort for districts that lose both students and money, even if their foundation allowance crept up a bit.
Departments: 

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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