School Funding Will Be Cut, Governor Says

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"Schools will be slashed at the end of the school year. How utterly ridiculous is that?" Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Thursday.

Granholm's message to a group of school administrators and board members in Lansing Thursday: schools will lose $125 for every student they have for the current year.

She says it's happening because the legislature won't agree to raise taxes. Letters telling the districts they'll see the cut are expected to arrive Monday.

"If they get a letter Monday, I'd start cutting Tuesday," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said after the governor's remarks.

Flanagan says if he were a district leader he'd look to cut busing costs. Other options include using reserve funds or laying off teachers and consolidating classrooms. A last resort: cutting the school year short.

"I'm assuming that most districts are going to be able to at least keep open their classrooms," Flanagan said.

At the Capitol, Senate Republicans told News 10 they're not convincted a cut this large is going to happen.

"We have all this progress going on," Majority Leader Mike Bishop said. "And for some reason, [the governor] feels she needs every once in a while to explode and act just absolutely like a child in this process."

Bishop says he'll wait until the state figures out how much money the sales tax is bringing in to see how bad the situation is.

Granholm says the new May numbers show the state is taking in roughly $130 million less than expected in the school aid fund.

So why does the state keep getting the numbers wrong?

"The hits to the auto industry and the challenges to our state economy means that people are not shoppnig as much as people had expected," Granholm said.

We asked the superintendent if the uncertainty means Michigan needs a new funding source for schools.

"I think we need to re-think the whole funding issue," Flanagan said.

But first, schools will have to deal with the funding they're getting now.

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