SOUTHGATE - State Representatives Andrew Kandrevas (D-Southgate), Douglas Geiss (D-Taylor), George Darany (D-Dearborn) and Paul Clemente (D-Lincoln Park) held a press conference today to call on Gov. Rick Snyder and Legislative Republicans to restore school funding. The proposed Republican-backed education budget, now in a conference committee, allows last year’s nearly a billion dollar raid of education funds to stand, and does not increase the per-pupil foundation allowance which was cut $470 per pupil in the current fiscal year budget.
“The Republicans in the legislature are not the ones that have to deal with the consequences of these funding cuts,” said Rep. Kandrevas. “We can stand here and say the facts such as Southgate community schools are in the hole nearly $995,000 but it’s what that deduction means for the future of our students that is the real point we are making. We are not setting our children up for a very bright future by creating a learning environment devoid of necessary resources.”
The proposed budget offers no increase in the per-pupil foundation allowance, so approving it means schools still have to live with the $470 per-pupil cut from this year’s budget. The proposed budget also pits schools against each other competing for small increases if they meet vaguely defined “best practices” - such as maintaining an online dashboard - which do nothing to improve classroom instruction or provide more resources for students. In reality, the total recommended expenditures for schools decline from Fiscal Year 2012 to Fiscal Year 2013 and decline again in Fiscal Year 2014 making the budget a net loss, and the School Aid foundation allowance for schools will actually be at its lowest level since 2006.
“These vaguely defined ‘best practices’ were concocted by legislators and not by educators as it should have been,” said Rep. Geiss “Passing this omnibus budget did not allow for proper input and consideration of amendments. Although all Democratic amendments that we believed would help our schools were defeated we will not stop fighting for Michigan students.”
Schools have already lost nearly a billion dollars in funding during this current budget year. So far the Southgate Community Schools have lost nearly $994,000, Dearborn City School District is down nearly $8.3 million, Taylor School District has lost nearly $2.2 million, and Lincoln Park Public Schools are out almost $870,000.
“Our children deserve nothing less than a first-class education,” said Rep. Darany. “The Republicans believe that cutting budgets to give big breaks to businesses will spur an economic recovery. However, when our students are unable to earn the education they need to enter the workforce, how long-lived will that recovery actually be? It is no secret that a quality education system is a key factor in moving Michigan forward.”
For a district specific break down of education cuts go to the House Democrats “Fight School Cuts” website at www.FightSchoolCuts.com.