Parents Break Silence On Budget

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Public school isn't always an easy place for autistic teenagers like 17-year-old Nicholas Krishnan.

"As you can tell, he's a student with profound disabilities," his mom, Shari, tells us. "But I don't think any place could've done better with our boy."

Shari Krishnan raves about their district near Detroit. But the raves turn into rants when she starts talking about the future of her son's school.

"I'm very fearful there's a political game being played on the backs of children. It isn't just playing chicken; it's playing Russian roulette with their futures," she says.

You see, Shari is scared for her son as well as the other children who will be in Michigan public schools long after he graduates. She's in Lansing Monday for an emergency state school board meeting, and she's speaking out against the nearly $300 in per-pupil cuts facing K-12 education.

"We talk about education being the future of Michigan. Are we willing to put it all at risk for politics? I think it's disgusting," Shari says.

John Ellsworth is also standing up for his little boy-- but for a different reason.

"I'm here for my son," he says.

"He's four years old. Next year he starts K-12 education," which he says is funded disproportionately lower in Grand Ledge than in wealthier districts. Ellsworth wants that changed-- among other things-- saying it could help save the state money.

"It may be time to pay the piper. If we equalize funding for two-thirds of our students..." he says we'll save bundles.

The State Board of Education Monday approved unanimously a resolution that recommends finding new revenue to salvage education spending cuts, and members also are hoping to make a long-term plan that avoids crises like these in the future.


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