Local Districts Lack Funding

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

Drake is one of more than 100 special needs students in the Meadow View Program in the Eaton County Intermediate School District, he and others could have benefited from a countywide special education millage.

"It would just cover programs in large part that are required by the state and federal government, that we would offer to students who've had mental, physical, psychological needs," said Eaton ISD Superintendent Al Widner.

But the millage that would have provided $2.7 million a year wasn't passed by voters, and the impact will be felt beyond just Special Ed.

"Our constituent districts next year will again have to reduce programs and services to students and families -- in this economic environment it's extremely difficult for someone to voluntarily say yes I would like to have you increase my taxes," Widner said.

Voters also shot down a millage in St. Johns that would have extended a millage for nearly $73 million.

"School districts don't have many opportunities as they once did to pass those local bonds and millages," said Doug Pratt of the Michigan Education Association.

And on top of that Pratt says schools across the state are suffering from dwindling dollars from the state.

"A lot of this comes back to the state needing to live up to its promises under Proposal A to fully fund public education," Pratt said.

Widner couldn't agree more, he says they've already cut a $.5 million from special education, and their funding troubles stem from much more than just millages.

"Our public schools currently are being dramatically underfunded, and with a continuation of federal and state mandates, it creates this dichotomy of required programs and funds not to meet those," Widner said.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Dave Location: Litchfield on May 7, 2009 at 12:30 PM
    Everyone deserves, and should have a right to, a decent public education.
  • by Anonymous Location: Lansing on May 7, 2009 at 09:03 AM
    Mary Anne, If you are actually saying that kids with special needs don't deserve to have an education, you sicken me!!! EVERYONE, even people like you have the right to a public education.
  • by Mary Anne Location: Jackson on May 6, 2009 at 07:59 PM
    Ok, let's see...we put these students through high school at an extra expense to the taxpayers, just so we can pay for their continual education at a publicly funded heritage program while, as adults, they collect Social Services funds for their handicap/disability/addiction, and contribute relatively nothing to society other than their self-pride, which I question they are capable of feeling and expressing if it weren't for their statist social workers egging it all on. Hey, I have a great idea, let's allow their FAMILIES to be responsible for them, and let's allow them to collect their financial and medical aid, and stop being a burden to the school systems that were meant to educate and not babysit!
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