Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Understanding the Impact of the Governor's Budget Proposal on Michigan Schools

Michigan Parents for Schools has a detailed summary of the Governor's budget proposal and its impact on Michigan schools.

I'm including a few excerpts here, and then you should really read the whole thing. With these state proposals, the devil is n the details.

Per-pupil funding underlines the distribution of school funds. 

The governor's executive budget recommendation is headlined by a modest increase in per-pupil funding. Districts at the current minimum level of $7,391 - which includes some 60% of all students - would receive $120 more per pupil for their general operating needs. Districts at or above the state maximum (currently $778 higher or $8,169) would get an increase of $60 per pupil.
Districts at the current minimum level of funding: think Manchester and Whitmore Lake.
Districts at or above the state maximum: think Ann Arbor.

Compare this to the year my daughter was born (which is also the year Proposal A started): 

Put another way, the small number of districts which were at the bare minimum spending level when Proposal A took effect in 1994 are still doing better than when they started, adjusted for inflation, but they have not recovered the levels they saw in 2010-11. Districts which started out at the "basic" level of funding ($5,000 in 1994) have lost some ground and are below where they started in 1994, adjusting for inflation, wiping out the gains from the first decade of this century. Districts at the higher end have done even worse: if they received what was the state maximum in 1994 ($6,500), they have lost ground against inflation nearly every year since then and the draft budget would let them buy about 17% less now than they were able to 22 years ago. (Emphasis added. Yes, that describes Ann Arbor.)
Retirement funding significantly affects school district resources.

Costs of the state-run school employee retirement system (MPSERS) continue to have a major impact on the budget. Unfortunately, unlike some other states, Michigan does not cover these costs from other funding sources, but instead uses money from the school aid budget. The cost of funding the retirement system has risen astronomically in recent years, and not because benefits are getting richer. As districts shed teachers and other staff in downsizing, and as more services are privatized, there are fewer employees paying into the system while the number of retirees is growing. . . As a result, contributions equal to about 36% of payroll have to be made by the state and school district employers (employees also make their own contributions). Ten years ago, this rate stood at a little over 16%.  (Emphasis added.)
Who was RIchard Headlee and why should you care?
Image used under a Creative Commons license
and taken from here.

Read the rest here. There is much more.

A lot of people think this stuff is a bit boring. And complicated.

Even if you are one of those people, you should know that it's essential for us to wrap our heads around 20j, the Headlee Amendment, plans for Detroit and Flint schools (among others), funding for charter schools, and how funding for higher education interacts with the School Aid Fund.

They are our schools--but only if we claim them.

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