Cuts Shock Schools, Superintendent Looks For Fixes

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

They've had some time to let the bad news sink in, and "bad" isn't the word they're using anymore.

"It's tragic," says Charlotte School Board President Bob Wilson, who's just plain worried right now.

He says a potential $292 reduction in per pupil funding four months into his school's fiscal year is something he never could have imagined.

"We can't send back the textbooks. We can't unhire people. We can lay people off, but you're going to pay unemployment costs. There's just a lot of things that make it difficult to do additional cuts," Wilson says.

But they're going to happen, he says. That's a sentiment shared by so many at a conference of school board officials in Lansing Friday.

Olivet Superintendent Dave Campbell says looming cuts are going to hit hard-- and hit everyone.

"You're looking at athletic programs, arts programs," Campbell says. "All we do is run programs for kids, and a program isn't an inanimate object; it's a person, leading a child in some way."

But their fate hasn't been sealed quite yet. The Governor says the legislature now has 30 days to come up with revenue to re-fund the additional $127 per pupil reductions she announced Thursday.

That, leaders say, is a double-edged sword.

"If they find revenue, my fear is it's going to drive people out of the state," says Campbell.

"Whenever you raise taxes, it puts Michigan at a competitive disadvantage for jobs," Wilson says.

But it's one or the other, says the Governor-- school cuts or new revenue. It's a multiple choice question some say has no right answer.

State Superintedent Mike Flanagan tells us Friday this is the most difficult time he's seen in education, but the cuts the Governor is imposing are judicious.

"I think the Governor and the state treasurer are trying to be realistic and say numbers have changed. We still aren't getting the revenue we thought we were getting. They want to act sooner than later. That's a good move," he says.

Flanagan is in support of finding new revenue sources, which could include a tax on live events.

"We shouldn't have a poor mom pay sales tax on a winter coat for her kid, and I don't have to pay sales tax on a ticket to go see the Lions. There's something wrong here."

What Could You Stomach More, To Help Balance The State Budget?

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  • by Anonymous on Oct 28, 2009 at 06:06 AM
    With all the CUTS to schooling,Soon they will have enough money to fund and open the new state police building.Many more factories that set empty can be torn down.Keep raising homes prices they can set empty also.Keep the rich,just that, RICH.Keep putting people on the street,as many poor just keep getting CUT.Satan must be so happy as more do his deeds.
  • by Gary on Oct 26, 2009 at 09:28 AM
    taxing lions tickets should net about twelve bucks!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 26, 2009 at 06:43 AM
    I hate to tell schools but many,thousands have had to figure out how to go from decent incomes to unemployment,no jobs were found,then the welfare reality set in.Then with all the past cuts for yrs when jobs were around.People are finding it impossible.What gov now says we can live on,is not what a dog could live on.Causes poverty and nothing is left.Without kids you get nothing and many end up homeless.Engler seen to that.What are states to do with so many out of work?It's not that people don't want to work,most do.You'd think by now our gov would be tired of loosing tax money that jobs give.Just like people are tired of not being able to find jobs.Mad because so many left this country.Government still have their pay.It is NOT low income,unemployment,or welfare.It it as long as they can pay for what they want and need the rest of us get scraps.Schools will or won't run on this money they get.What will the budget ends up being.If one is figured out at all.We've been waiting on jobs.
  • by St. James Location: St. Johns on Oct 26, 2009 at 05:49 AM
    There is a good liberal in Jim from GL. Going back 20 yrs. to find blame. I think this is about spending choices, not tax cuts. You can answer this, $52 million in cuts for education OR $52 million in spending for the MSP HQ. Your GIRL chose the "RICH MAN"(Joel Ferguson)!!! What a Republican thing to do???
  • by nate Location: Just want job,Mi on Oct 25, 2009 at 11:08 AM
    For government to do things for all needing first they must get rid of those foolishly blowing money.There are to many doing bad and not enough doing good.Greed is out of hand and many are to blame.Thousands are out of work,homes are being lost,more jobs close because no one buys.Look at the ones who went over seas to get cheap labor.The president needs to charge them a high fee to fund all welfare programs,unemployment,charities and all need to keep people going.Maybe then they would see what taking jobs away did for this country.They just might come back when being in another country costs more than being here.Schools are shocked they lost money to play with.Guess there vote doesn't matter any more.They may learn some can't be bought.It's sad that many children must go to such a fancy school,while at home they live in total poverty.less lighting,less heat,and little food.Schools are only as good as the teachers.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 25, 2009 at 07:52 AM
    All funds to school could of been cut.Be thankful for what we get.I think we are going to see a lot of TRUTHS come out about a lot of things.The new president has already stepped on a lot of toes of big business.Just like OB has the right to tell states what to do or not do.Mi was a rich state at one time,Saying yes to many projects got votes.Money flowed around this state like water.Now we can't do a lot of things.The government needs to get jobs into this state,not all green either.That will take money.They must now correct their wrongs.The do what you can to get votes must stop.Their is no play money left for many.Now they must do what they can with what they get.Just like thousands of people and families have had to do,due to not enough jobs to put people to work.For yrs they cut away at the welfare programs because they were not that needed with jobs.Well now these programs are needed and help has been cut away.Way before jenn and those serving with her.Now that has to change too.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Oct 24, 2009 at 03:00 PM
    What does it take to open the school boards eyes? They have nibbled around the edges of the problem by eliminating/privitizing food service, custodians, bus drivers etc., but they have yet to tell the teachers it is way past time for a substantial (40% at least) pay and benefit reduction. Quit sitting on your thumbs and do your job. If the teachers and administraters don't like it, they can leave. There are gobs of qualified people that can replace them at substantial cost savings! Thank you
  • by Jen on Oct 24, 2009 at 10:24 AM
    After watching our govt doing nothing for us, I BECAME VERY DISCOURAGED.And then I saw Pete Hoekstra, stand for us against having Gitmo terrorist come here. It made me feel like there just might be a few working for us and NOT against us.Thank you Pete Hoekstra.I'm a citizen,a voter, and your a keeper.
  • by Mandy on Oct 23, 2009 at 08:29 PM
    Really are you serious you did not know that this day was going to come? You lost a few hundred per student not thousands which is what you still get. I seem to remember that the Superintendent of Charlotte received a 1 percent raise this spite of the budget crises. In addition the Charlotte Public School District seems to employ 4 superintendents that is a huge amount of money right there. In addition you have to pay their support staff, benefits and retirement....really start cutting and get over yourselves the rest of us are doing it and still surviving.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 23, 2009 at 06:48 PM
    Superintendents talk to your economic teachers unless they don't have the answers. If they can't figure out how to get a budget done then FIRE THEM BECAUSE THEY FAILED. No more money to the schools. Get paper, pencils and a blackboard and teach them like it has been taught for over a hundred years. Life goes on!
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