I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around ANY cuts, seeing as the state's School Aid Fund is actually quite flush, and could fund an INCREASE in per pupil funding if it weren't being pillaged for other uses. This budget "crisis" is totally voluntary, created by Snyder and the legislature. They control expenses and revenue, and if they need to collect more revenue in order to adequately fund basic services, then that's what they need to do. That's their job.
That's right! Let the legislature know that it is unacceptable to cut K-12 education in order to fund higher education or anything else--there is a reason for a dedicated School Aid Fund.
Get information about how to contact your state senator or representative right here.
I mentioned the other day that there is a rally going on April 30th to protest these cuts. The rally is in Ann Arbor. I didn't put together the reason for the rally, though, which is that Governor Snyder is the UM Commencement Speaker. He's coming to "our" backyard, and one of our public schools is right across the street, so let's explain to him why education needs protection, not cuts; and why good schools are important for everyone, not just those wealthy enough to afford private school educations. The facebook event page for this rally is: http://www.facebook.com/event.
On May 3d, there is a Special Education millage. PLEASE remember to vote. PLEASE vote yes on the millage. This is a renewal millage, but if it doesn't pass, every county district will need to make cuts in addition to the cuts that are expected to come from the School Aid Fund.
Because special education services are mandated, for the most part they will be protected even if the millage fails--which means that the cuts will then come out of the funding for general education. More information is available at washtenawfriends.org.
All of that means that the best way to protect BOTH special education and general education is to vote yes on the millage on May 3d.
So...three things you can do to fight the budget blues.
1. Let Rick Snyder and the legislature know that you don't want the School Aid Fund poached--you want the money spent on the needs of K-12 students.
UPDATE 4/25/11: Michigan Parents for Schools has an easy way to send a personalized alert to the governor and legislators all at once. You will find it here. (Link fixed on 4/28/11.)
2. Vote yes on the May 3d special education millage.
3. Educate yourself. Ann Arbor's budget forums are coming this week; other budget forums are coming up too! (Related note: State Senator Rebekah Warren will be at the 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 26 Ypsilanti school board meeting, room 138 located in the lower level of Ypsilanti High School.)
The community's children thank you.