Friday, February 20, 2009

More about Money and School Financing

Good news from the state of Michigan. Per-pupil funding will likely stay at the same level next year. Which gives a little breathing room for planning. Still, it's not an increase in funding, and it's not like costs stay the same. And did I mention that the union contracts in Ann Arbor open up this year?

If you want to try to understand Michigan's school funding scheme, you might try this presentation. It is award-winning, and does a good job explaining why the system is broken. But it doesn't suggest the legislative fixes. We need to come up with that ourselves.

And if you don't want to watch/listen to a video, this is a good explanation of the issue as well. (Scroll down to "What Proposal A is all about.") This does have some suggestions for particular areas to focus on, but closes with this (to my mind, scary) thought:

Another thing to consider is that most of Proposal A's provisions are written into the state Constitution, and would require a state-wide referendum to change. Even changing the maximum property tax rates (the State Education Prop. Tax and the 18 mills on commercial property) requires a three-quarters vote of both houses of the Legislature. We've really painted ourselves into a corner, and enshrined low taxes at the cost of making sure our schools are working. It's time for a change!

Still, where there is a will, there must be a way!

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