Thursday, April 21, 2011

State Budget Blues

Here in Ann Arbor, where we have largely escaped unscathed from the past 15 or so years of budget cuts, we are just now starting to feel the pain that districts like Ypsilanti and Willow Run have felt.

In order to understand the problem,  first lets take a look at the state scene:

Governor Snyder is trying to poach from the School Aid Fund to give to higher education. Now, I want us to support higher education, but not from the School Aid Fund. There's a reason it's never been done before (it is, by the way, legal and so technically not poaching)--it's a bad idea. K-12 education is mandated, and higher education is not. If Governor Snyder didn't take money away from K-12 education, then the cuts wouldn't be nearly so bad. I understood this much more clearly from a report that Michigan Radio did.

In an excellent, excellent piece, "Shifting Money away from Schools," they explain,

The School Aid Fund is one of the main sources of money for K-12 public schools. Since it was established by the 1908 Michigan Constitution and even though in the 1963 Constitution “higher education” was added, the money in the School Aid Fund only has been used to pay for educating public school children. That is, until this year. 
Also, today, Michigan Radio reports that the Senate Appropriations Committee voted today on party lines regarding education funding, and that what passed was a $340 per student cut, and not the $740 per student cut that Governor Snyder wants.
 So obviously, if you believe this fund shouldn't be cut, you might want to become active in influencing your state legislature. I received this note today from a school parent:

Dear Parents & Teachers,

Your kids need your help. I am calling on all parents, teachers, friends & neighbors to join the protest demonstration on April 30th @ 10 am on the corner of Stadium and Main to protest the over 1 billion dollar cut in Kindergarten to College (K-20) education.  One third of budget deficit will be "fixed" by cutting education which is wildly disproportionate and only affects the kids of the working class.
If you think that:
1) Cutting education to feed corporate tax cuts unfairly burdens the middle class and working poor...
2) A good education is NOT just for the rich...
3) Education should NOT become a for-profit business... (our kids are not commodities...)
4) Your child's education is worth you taking 2 hours of your time to stand up and be counted
Then join us. Tell your friends. Pass it on. Your kids have no voice - but YOU do!

For more information, contact Mary Krasan,

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