from Dr. Vickie Markavitch, Superintendent of Oakland Schools
*** “CLASSROOMS and KIDS” BUDGET UPDATE & CLARIFICATION, May 12:
NET INCREASE: The foundation increase in the “Classrooms and Kids” proposal is a $250-$290 per pupil increase over last year’s foundation level. Because the proposal collapses categorical funding into the per pupil foundation, the impact of that increase will vary district by district depending on what categorical funding a district might have gotten last year, or get this year. The NET increase a district realizes would likely not be $250-$290 per student. However, analysis of the budget proposals shows that all districts in the state do better with the “Classrooms and Kids” budget than they would with the Governor’s, the House, or the alternative budget proposal that simply rolls up the categorical funds for Best Practices and Performance (in fact, when you do just that, some districts will get less money next year than they did this year). As for the Senate budget, except for a small number of districts benefiting from a “20j like” categorical that guarantees at least a $75 increase in the foundation, the vast majority of districts will do better with “Classrooms and Kids”.
MPSERs: There has been some misunderstanding about what “Classrooms and Kids” proposes, related to MPSERS. The short answer is: “Classrooms and Kids” proposes exactly the same for MPSERs as did the Governor. The confusion seems to come from “Classrooms and Kid’s” reduction to an intra-School Aid Budget rainy day reserve fund that was titled “MPSERS Reserve Fund.” While this fund may be utilized in future fiscal years for MPSERS, there is absolutely no guarantee that it will be appropriated for that purpose, and it has no impact on this year’s MPSERS rates.
ADEQUACY/EQUITY STUDY: We all know that school funding in Michigan has not yet reached a level of adequacy or equity. Getting more money into the ‘per pupil foundation’ for the coming year is an important step, but it is just a FIRST step. The next step is to complete a school funding study like many high performing states have done. Our goal is adequacy and equity in funding so that all Michigan students have the programs and services needed to reach high academic standards. An adequacy and equity study will show us the funding that is needed, but more important, it should point the way to how that money should be allocated to meet the diverse needs of our students across this state. Read on…
BUDGETS, budgets, budgets. We’ve been hearing a lot lately about budgets to fund public schools in Michigan. The Governor has a budget. The House has a budget. The Senate has a budget. And we are hearing that amendments are already being drafted for all of those budgets in order to get some legislative agreement.
There is also a budget proposal that has been carefully put together by school people that has the support of superintendents, principals, local school boards and many state education organizations – as well as 75% of Michigan voters, according to a recent poll. 75 percent!
And that budget is the “Classrooms and Kids” proposal. It is called “Classrooms and Kids” because in THIS budget that is exactly where the money goes. With no additional taxes, students and classrooms gain more funding than in any of the other budgets or amended budgets being offered.
In fact, even with no additional taxes school funding goes from an increase of approximately $111 per child in the Governor’s budget, to $250 per child with the “Classrooms and Kids” proposal.
How does it do this without new taxes?
“Classrooms & Kids” takes the 186 million dollars that is currently divided into many “extra” categorical funds, and removes the many strings attached to those dollars. “Classrooms and Kids” puts that money directly in the hands of local school districts so those locally elected board members and their education leaders can make local decisions that best meet the needs of their community’s children.
Classrooms and Kids” ensures that the $186 million that would otherwise be spent on special pots of money for some schools or programs but not others, is instead spent evenly and fairly among all schools. By streamlining the budget, we can send an additional $250 per student right into their classrooms where the money is needed most.
With the “Classrooms and Kids” proposal, districts will have the funds to help stabilize class sizes, hire more teachers and staff and keep our community schools comprehensive by protecting programs such as the arts, foreign languages and athletics.
Voters from every political background support “Classrooms and Kids”. Nearly 74% of polled voters said school accountability should be driven at the local level and NOT through the K-12 funding process at the state level.
Nearly 80% of polled voters said they trust their local school leaders to make decisions and to hold schools accountable, more than they do elected officials in Lansing who have little stake in classrooms outside their own districts.
But YOU do have a stake in your community’s classrooms, and you DO have a voice in Lansing…
Please join us in support of the non-partisan “Classrooms and Kids” budget proposal and take action now to support our students.
For more information and to immediately contact your legislator, go to Million Michigan Voices.
It’s time to pass a state budget that is a win-win for ALL students in Michigan.
Blog Editor: Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools
Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000
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