Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now, Back to Budget Cutting?

The Michigan House passed a really bad education bill today, which will mean lots more budget cutting. It doesn't have to be that way--the School Aid Fund has enough money in it to avoid cutting our public schools, if we didn't try to fund our higher education programs with that money at the same time--something that has never been done before, and that will effectively do a poor job serving both K-12 education and higher education.

Here is what Ann Arbor Representative Jeff Irwin had to say about it, as recorded in the House Journal:
Mr. Speaker and members of the House:
Despite the protestations of the majority, deep cuts to education do not create jobs. Indeed, the passage of this budget bill will mean less jobs today and less jobs tomorrow. Today, this bill represents layoff notices for the dedicated public servants that educate our children. The passage of these deep cuts will take educators out of the classroom and compromise Michigan's ability to compete for jobs and investment. Tomorrow, this disinvestment in education will stay with us. Michigan will struggle to attract and retain the type of employers that provide good jobs. Michigan kids won't have the skills, knowledge and training that children from other states and other countries enjoy. With this action, the Michigan House of Representatives threatens to leave our state behind in the competition for prosperity, innovation and a high quality of life.

Yes, that's what we're up against--the cutting of (mandatory) K-12 education in order to have money for (non-mandated) higher education. What ticks me off is that everybody says that "kids are our future." Well, if they really believed that, they would fund that. They must not believe it. I think this budget passed along party lines--and did you know that the head of the House Republicans is Randy Richardville, who actually represents a small part of Washtenaw County (and Monroe County).

The education budget hasn't passed the Senate yet, there's still time to lobby.

Find out more about what is going on at the state level at the legislative event being held at Pioneer High School tomorrow (May 6th) at 5:30 p.m. The details are below. Note that you can call in advance to 994-2232 to provide comment during public commentary, or provide written testimony to the legislators.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education will host a legislative roundtable on Friday, May 6, 2011 at Pioneer High School, 601 W. Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
The legislative roundtable, hosted by the AAPS Board of Education as a study session, will present state funding issues affecting the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Confirmed legislators who will be attending the roundtable study session are;
Representative Mark Ouimet (R-52- Scio Township), Representative Jeff Irwin (D-53- Ann Arbor), Representative David Rutledge (D-54-Ypsilanti), Representative Rick Olson (R-55- Saline), Senator Rebekah Warren (D-18-Washtenaw County) as well as members of the House Appropriations School Aid Subcommittee, Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton (D-Huntington Woods) and Representative Jim Ananich (D-Flint).
Senate Majority Leader Senator Randy Richardville and Governor Rick Snyder have been invited.

The agenda includes:
AAPS Budget History – what AAPS has done in the past 5 years to address the ongoing structural deficit
Governor Snyder’s Budget Implications – 2011/12 AAPS Proposed Budget including $15 million in reductions
Ideas for Reform – recommendations of areas to address and put forward change to adequately fund pre-K-12 public education
Public Commentary – there will be a limited time for public commentary by signing up in advance by calling 734.994.2232 or to leave a written testimony for the School Aid Subcommittee members.
 Show up, and give our representatives and senators a civics lesson!


  1. why would anyone with a young family move to Michigan? Schools are one of the biggest factors in choosing where to raise a family. Any comment on the 5% increase for any university that provides domestic partner benefits? Talk about pitting people against each other.

  2. Yeah, it's all very short-sighted, isn't it?

  3. One thing I should have made clear, too, is that despite the fact that higher education is getting funded through the School Aid Fund, in the House proposal higher education is still getting a very significant cut of 15%, and an additional 5% if the school is funding domestic partner benefits.
    See this article: