Some School Cuts Almost Inevitable

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

Schools have a new number to face.

"We're talking about a $116 per pupil cut to schools at this point in time," state Treasurer Bob Kleine said Friday.

That's the per student cut schools across the state could face now that the state has revised its budget deficit.

Schools have few options for dealing with those cuts. Districts could eliminate busing, shut down early, or go into deficit spending -- resulting in a state penalty.

A few districts have enough money in rainy day funds to cover the cuts.

Months or even weeks ago, the governor warned schools would face those dire choices only if lawmakers didn't pass the new sales tax she was asking for.

Now even the tax could only make up some of the state's nearly $800 million deficit because it would only have a short time to raise money for the state. The state treasuer says if the sales tax is passed, it could lessen the cuts.

"We could probably get by with less, but I couldn't give you a number," Kleine said.

The other way to avoid cuts to schools would be to move money from another department in a one-time fix. The Senate has proposed shifting money from the governor's "21st Century Jobs Fund." That move would still result in a $36 per student cut to schools.

The situation has school leaders frustrated.

"You just can't implore the legislature enough," Lansing board Vice President Hugh Clarke said, to drop what he called political games and "talk about what they're going to do."

But one by one it seems the solutions for legislators to avoid education cuts entirely are disappearing with time. One possible solution would be hiking the income tax rate, but it's unclear if such a move could win the support or lawmakers or the people.

"This is the worst fiscal crisis that Michigan has ever faced, since the 1930s at least," Kleine said.

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  • by Katrina Location: Okemos on May 18, 2007 at 08:16 PM
    I love how everyone's reaction to a financial crisis is more taxes. Here's a tip; when you make things more expensive, people spend less money on them. If haircuts are taxed, more people will let their hair go, or simply learn to do it themselves. More taxes means less money in peoples' pockets, thus, less money going into the economy. Our economy is bad enough as it is without making people MORE poor. I love how they don't address the reasons WHY there's going to be less tax revenue this year. It's because people are fleeing this state in droves. I know of about 10 people/families off the top of my head that have already packed up and moved out of state, and as of now, my brother, his wife, and her brother are making plans to head south. We're considering hitching our star to that wagon, as well. Taxes are going to keep going up, the economy's going to keep getting worse, people are going to continue fleeing the state, and eventually the state's gonna sink too low to be salvaged. And the only thing Granholm and her camp can think to do is keep taxing....the only time she ever tried to bring jobs into Michigan was when election time was approaching. Kinda figured THAT wasn't gonna last.
  • by Jim Location: Dimondale on May 18, 2007 at 07:32 PM
    Does anyone remember the internet? Since the internet became so popular one business after another has suffered and so does the state. I am not saying add more taxes. NEVER, but collect what is due from internet sales and make it an even playing field for us locally owned businesses that collect sales taxes for the state. Again NO MORE TAXES OR FEES. Michigan business and citizens can't take anymore. Cut the jobs fund. Cut the schools. Move money around within departments. I made cuts to save my business without layoffs or raising prices. The state should be able to do the same.
  • by Wayne Location: Port Huron on May 18, 2007 at 03:18 PM
    Well, I hate to admit it but it is time for the both parties, and houses to get their act together and pass an across the board 5 per cent sales tax on food, medicine, services, etc. etc. Our economy has changed and the only solution is to pay where people spend. Failure to address the needs of our civilization is a crime against humanity.
  • by gene Location: brooklyn on May 18, 2007 at 03:10 PM
    it's time to do away with the legislators since they were the voices of the people at the time of horse and buggy. We should evolve into a computer system approach and save a ton of money and be more representive of the "people".
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