Michigan is still without a viable balanced budget. However, the State only shut-down briefly before a continuation was past. A mixed blessing?
This debate and process is certain to be the single biggest impact to your children’s education in the next several years. Why?
You probably already know that K-12 public education is in the cross-hairs to take a $218 per pupil cut. However, what you might not realize is that this might only be the first of many years of declining funding if systemic problems in the Michigan budget system are not addressed.
I have parsed through the news to highlight some different arguments and deeper concerns in the Michigan budget. Hopefully, this will give you a clearer insight into the various debates and where we might be headed.
Obviously, all of the local school districts are closely monitoring this budget process. Most surrounding districts are trying to assure parents of a positive outcome in the schools, but the reality is that many are in the same spot as this Crestwood Superintendent:
“We budgeted very conservatively but we cannot sustain a cut of $218 per student without deep cuts to programming mid-year. A $218 cut would reduce our revenue by approximately $750,000 and we would have to absorb it from January to June,” VanValkenburg said.
I spoke with Superintendent Russ Pickell on Friday and he assured me that Flat Rock Community Schools Administration and Board of Education did anticipate some of the worst-case scenarios. And many of the adjustments we saw at the beginning of the 2009-2010 are in anticipation of leaner funding from Lansing in the 2010 State budget.
I am still concerned about the actual cuts hitting the books. As it seems they almost assuredly will.
Preliminary committee budgets continue to contain the $218 per pupil cut to K-12 public education. This cut has been the most contentious of the proposed budget balancing cuts, but still hasn’t left any of the budget proposals to date.
Here are some of the systemic budget constraints that are being cited as challenges in resolving this budget impasse:
- Constitutional requirement to pass a “balanced” budget
- Term limits (contributing to inexperienced leadership and legislators)
- Proposal A, a 1994 reform dramatically redesigning public school funding
Many are beginning to support the argument that Lansing is simply lacking competent leadership to manage the economic crisis.
- The Toledo Blade calls it a “leadership failure.”
- Henry Payne of the Detroit News calls it a “train wreck.”
- The Free Press highlights what simply seems to be petty bickering.
This can be a real problem if we as voters simply walk into the polls without carefully considering our decisions about our future representation.