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Letter to the Governor and Legislature

Below is the letter one group of parents, from Ann Arbor, sent to Governor Granholm and to their local representatives, Senator Liz Brater and Representative Rebekah Warren, on 16 March. They invite other groups pf parents to borrow the letter and use it as a framework for their own letter to their elected representatives. Every letter and message to our legislators makes a difference!
Dear Governor Granholm, Senator Brater, and Representative Warren: We are parents of children attending the Ann Arbor Public Schools. As parents, and as citizens, we are calling on our elected officials to make safeguarding funds for education a legislative priority, now and in the future. Our state cannot afford to set back our public schools any further. If we cut more teachers and programs yet again this year, leaving our class sizes larger than ever next year, our instructional quality will be greatly diminished and we will be doing our state a great disservice. Class sizes at every level matter very much in terms of what can be taught. Many subjects and grade levels require the teachers to be able to address each child's individual needs on a daily basis, in order to maximize instructional outcomes. To attract and keep students in our Michigan public schools, we must maintain funding at levels that will ensure acceptable class sizes and high quality programs. We all agree that Michigan needs an educated work force to move ahead in this global economy. Even in the short term, it will be hard to attract jobs and new businesses to our State if our public schools repeatedly have their funding jeopardized. As a result of the constraints put on us by Proposal A, we as parents and citizens feel that our hands are tied in terms of raising revenue to support the instructional aspects of our children's education. A school funding system which works only when the economy is strong does a disservice to all of us. We strongly urge our lawmakers to reappraise how schools are funded and consider changing that system to address its shortfalls. We are encouraged by the Governor’s budget proposals on education because they put a priority on bolstering our public schools. All of us are sensitive to the risk of placing a larger tax burden on our state’s economy in difficult times. There is also no question that we must ask our school districts to be careful stewards of our tax dollars. But avoiding the problem, and allowing our schools to flounder, would be a serious mistake. As citizens, we are prepared to invest the resources needed to keep our public schools strong. We hope our elected representatives are prepared to take leadership on this issue. We urge you to make education a top priority and to keep it funded. Thank you very much for your consideration, Jeannette Jackson, Janice Lieberman, Steven Norton, Jennifer Tanau
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