Education Budget Signed; Lawmakers Still Don't Know How to Fund Part of it

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Signed by the Governor, sealed and delivered Monday -- schools finally know just how deep the state funding cuts will be.

"$218 cut per pupil is horrible, $165 per pupil cut is very bad," said Donald Sovey, the associate Superintendent for Business at Charlotte Public Schools.

Schools will get $53 more per student than many originally thought, but the legislature hasn't decided how to fund that increase yet, which worries Grand Ledge Superintendent Steve Matthews.

"We anticipate they may come back to us in late winter early spring and ask for another cut," Matthews said.

As things stand now -- even at $165 per student -- the district will have to cut $300,000 it wasn't planning for.

"What that means is we have to make cuts where we can, perhaps we won't offer courses that have low enrollment or we might combine classes," Matthews said. "What it really means is we have to dip into our fund balance."

Some say they think there should be a complete overhaul of the education system in this state to avoid this same cycle of cuts and losses from affecting the classroom.

"This is another year of trying to get the expenditures to reach the funding levels," Sovey said.

It's a vicious cycle without an end Sovey said, unless the system that funds public education in this state is changed.

"Revenue funding sources need to be examined because they aren't working because they are completely dependent on sales tax," he said. "Many districts are talking about how we can achieve equity between districts also."

In the future, Sovey said, he'd like to see lawmakers and school districts sit down and draw up a new plan.

"So that a year from now, we're not revisiting this same scenario," Sovey said.

Lawmakers are considering filling the gap created by this $53 dollar per pupil increase, with Stimulus dollars. But, that comes at price considering Stimulus dollars have rules attached - i.e. if you use it to fill gaps instead of improving schools -- the state could lose out in $5 billion in federal education grants.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Stockbridge on Oct 23, 2009 at 05:22 PM
    I think Jenny should scrap her wonderful State Police Hdqrs, reinstate the troopers and give the rest to education. Another year of her there won't be anything left of Michigan
  • by Anonymous on Oct 16, 2009 at 06:45 AM
    The gov cut what help they give town to run on somewhat.Now they are faced with what taxes to raise,or fees or just how to raise money.Are these town going to try to take more away from home owners or what?Is it up to counties to get jobs into their county to supply jobs so they can gain money?Good point Mike,but I don't see upper government helping us,just keep forcing us to give to them.Do their thinking for them.They have lost track of reality and common sense.They cut those really needing stuff so they can have what they want.Pay raises,a remodeled state,fancy up to drive through,built building to impress people.They have brought how many jobs to Mich?They did not want to do what was need to get jobs here?That would of been so much easier than,cuts,and not being able to fix the budget.It must feel good to hurt people,they are perfect in that area.
  • by Mike Location: Okemos on Oct 13, 2009 at 02:41 PM
    Why doesn't the State start by trimming the Representatives and Senators and lobbyists. We should go to part time legislature and ban lobbyists. We should fine our representatives by docking their pay for every deficit dollar spent. I think I speak for alot of my fellow citizens when we say we are fed up with the "representation" or lack thereof locally, statewide and especially in Washington. I have knew for you all, when the buck stops the fingers are all pointing at you!!!! We are fed up and ready to take our government back....that is a promise.
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