K-12 Schools About to Lose $218 Per Pupil

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Michigan school districts would lose more than $200 per student this academic year and a popular college scholarship program would be wiped out under budget bills agreed to Wednesday by bipartisan conference committees.
The Democrat-led state House could vote on the proposals as early as Thursday, sending them to the Republican-led Senate before an Oct. 1 budget deadline.
Some Democrats also are preparing proposals that would raise some taxes to save programs such as college scholarships and money for local communities in case the cuts don't pass.
One joint House-Senate committee voted Wednesday to give K-12 school districts the flexibility to cut in a variety of areas, but slashed overall spending by 3.6 percent, or $218 per student. Intermediate school districts, which typically offer services for several schools at the county level, would see their funding reduced by 44 percent. Early childhood education programs would get less money.
The lost funds mean nearly $2 million less for the Bay City school district, $1.3 million less for Battle Creek schools and nearly $19 million less for Detroit public schools, which already faces a $259 million deficit.
"We ended up with something very much less than what I would hope to have in a budget supporting our schools," said Democratic Rep. Terry Brown of Pigeon, who served on the conference committee.
The committee handling the higher education budget eliminated the Michigan Promise scholarship. About 96,000 Michigan college students were expecting some portion of the $4,000 grant this academic year. It typically is paid in $500 installments per semester early in a student's college career.
Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who strongly opposes cutting the Promise grant, has proposed paying for it and certain other programs by raising $685 million in new revenue. Some of that would come from tax increases while the rest would come from cutting some business tax exemptions.
Lawmakers are struggling to draw up budget bills that deal with a $2.8 billion shortfall that federal recovery act money can't entirely fill.
Eliminating the Promise scholarship would save the state about $140 million. The conference committee also voted to eliminate nearly $60 million in other financial and scholarship programs.
The compromise also cuts funding for Michigan's 15 public universities by less than 1 percent. Rules accompanying federal recovery act money restricted how much university spending could be cut, leaving scholarships and financial aid to bear the brunt of the reductions.
A separate conference committee pushed through a state police budget that would rehire 55 of 104 troopers laid off this year and allow the state police to move into a new headquarters building in Lansing. Critics have said the state police should not get a new headquarters given the budget woes.
Federal recovery money will wipe out more than half of state's budget deficit. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop and Democratic House Speaker Andy Dillon say they want to eliminate the rest of the shortfall with at least $1.2 billion in cuts.
Dillon has said targeted tax increases or other revenue sources could be an option to protect spending for scholarships, community health programs, welfare and revenue-sharing payments that go to local governments.
But Republican leaders have not agreed to raise taxes.
"You can't make the kind of cuts that we've made and not impact every budget and every interest group involved in this budget," Bishop said. "So there is concern. But we all know that we've got a responsibility and that's to balance the budget."
Lawmakers also might avoid a partial government shutdown by extending the state's current budget. Granholm doesn't want that, but it's preferable to the alternative if lawmakers can't agree on a balanced budget.
"There's only one thing worse than a continuation budget, and that would be the shutdown of state government," Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said.

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  • by local on Sep 25, 2009 at 07:10 PM
    Hey WILX--how about an update? Today's agreed upon cut is $240 per student. And how about a story covering the real issue--how unfair school funding is in this state! Why is a student in Ann Arbor worth more than $9000, while a student in a Lansing area school is worth about $7000? How about some good, old fashioned investigative reporting?
  • by Robert Location: Michigan. on Sep 25, 2009 at 03:23 AM
    Other states?well no our taxes aren't as much as some states.Look at Indiana.200$ up front to put each of your kids in school.Something that isn't done in Michigan.Property taxes are higher in many states as well of the cost of many things.Why taxes on stuff.It helps keep gas prices{the tax}down.They attract business,not over charging on some items.Taxes on other things are high.It's really a matter of knowing what to tax.So they don't have people shopping in other states,loosing tax money.Mich was a rich state for years.The autos,furniture,cherries,cereals,ect.As we made so much stuff.It was the place to vacation.Tourist business every where.Well we no longer can say we are the capital of this or that as jobs dried up.Tax the wrong things then we failed as many moved on to places that cared about jobs and it's people.Who can we blame all the job loss on?Government,Bad choices.Greed.Not knowing what they were doing.Sure we need more taxes,the right ones on the right people,and things.
  • by Jason Location: Jackson on Sep 24, 2009 at 10:04 PM
    As long as Jennifer and her gang of Democrats are sitting high on the hog, this unfortunately is only the beginning of even worse times. Remember she needs to save up for that tropical Carribbean vacation next year!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 24, 2009 at 08:47 PM
    For years the USA was at the booming state.Jobs were so every one could work.Prices were reasonable and everything was fine.The greed set in and we CRASHED.Now we don't seem to know how or what to do.Government is and has made many mistakes with tax payers money.Now they have people fighting among themselves on who should get what to the point if some things are cut people will be dieing.Jenn may of made promises and said no taxes.Well things changed that changed the promises.Schooling and so many things may just be put on hold or having to wait till jobs come into mich.Now that thousands are out of work and all that is going on,The programs many want to cut are going to be needed.One may think "it can't happen to them"But I'm sure many found out different.Many more will.Things will not get better by causing the poor to suffer and Not have whats needed.It will get worse before it gets better,if that happens at all.Time will tell.It depends on the gov,more ways than one.
  • by Bill Location: Delta Twp. on Sep 24, 2009 at 09:26 AM
    Good, now they have the money for Joel, Gary and Jennifer. If you are in politics you have to take care of your contributors. And of course Virg wins again. Now ALL State Police employees get the privilege of paying city income taxes. White collar crime at it's best.
  • by Shawn Location: Grand Ledge on Sep 24, 2009 at 08:50 AM
    How many more cuts can K-12 take? The State of Michigan tells us that the education our students in Michigan receive is not competitive to other states and/or countries. They tell us that our students score low on mandatory tests. To fix this problem, the State of Michigan delivered a new curriculum to schools that mandates what needs to be taught and what students must complete in order to graduate with a Michigan diploma. How can schools possibly meet the requirements of the new curriculum if they constantly have to make cuts? These cuts will mean more students in a classroom because staffing will need to be reduced, less spending on instructional materials and technology - items needed to help students compete in a technology driven economy, and the possible elimination of services and programs that help students to survive in and our of school (alternative programs, social services, athletic programs...).
  • by mandy Location: jackson michigan on Sep 24, 2009 at 04:20 AM
    Remember other thins seem to be important in the budget.If they would put higher taxes on the upper wages in this state that would have some government ones paying higher taxes.Not that it would hurt their life styles really,it's just they want all they can get,no matter who it hurts as long as it isn't them.They are suppose to be working for all people in this state.When they talk about cuts to the poor that says a lot of people don't matter.Many that paid the gov wages and voted them into office.If jobs ever come to mich I hope many find away not to be so kind to the government and the gov remembers what they caused many.They only care about people if they have money?Since many don't at this time due to job loss.We are just out of the question to receive any help.It sounds rather two faced like high school games.So if more go with out food,no problem as long as the government don't?Problem is a lot of kids will be suffering as well.
  • by Jimmy Location: Jackson on Sep 24, 2009 at 04:05 AM
    I am so sick of hearing how the taxpayer loses everything so the STATE workers can still get everything. What the state needs to do is Cut wages to all state employees, have them pay for part of their medical care, and quit sending Jen on family trips. Why do us taxpayers have to get less and the state employees not suffer the loss?
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