As State lawmakers continue to hammer out budget details to balance a $2.8 billion deficit by October 1, 2009, funding for public schools is taking it on the chin. In its current proposed state the State budget will cut $218 of State funding per student.
Let’s put that into perspective…
Based on student numbers provided by Superintendent Russ Pickell at the September 14, 2009 School Board Meeting (1809 students projected, 1926 first-day attendance) that will be a reduction of $394,362-$419,868 to the Flat Rock School District budget.
Here are some statements from the Detroit Free Press:
Meanwhile, K-12 school administrators were left to wonder how they would cope with a $218 per-pupil funding cut — about $100 more than they were anticipating. Many had already closed schools, laid off staff and slashed programs before the June 30 deadline to have their budgets finalized.
“There’s no putting a happy face on this,” said Frank Ruggirello, spokesman for Plymouth-Canton Community Schools.
Chippewa Valley Schools was already projecting a $4-million deficit by the end of the school year; the cuts announced Wednesday will drive it up to $7 million, said Superintendent Mark Deldin.
“It will be nearly impossible to mitigate the shortfall,” Deldin said.
The cuts approved by a House and Senate conference committee are expected to be felt deeply in K-12 schools.
And similar reactions in The Detroit News:
Don Noble, lobbyist for the Michigan Education Association, said, “The $218 (per pupil) is a big hit … it’s going to mean massive layoffs, reshuffling students, increasing class size and elimination of some programs.”
Unfortunately, this is a reality. These kind of cuts were not anticipated in any Flat Rock District budget projections.
[Update: I had a discussion with Superintendent Pickell this morning (10/2/2009). Apparently my statement: "These kind of cuts were not anticipated in any District budget projections" is NOT correct. The District and Board of Education did consider this more drastic scenario and has, prior to this school year, made some adjustments in anticipation of these cuts.
That's good news! Thanks for the call Superintendent--communication is important, accurate communication is even more important."]
We need to be talking in our Parent Groups, Ram Boosters, and other parent and community groups about what is important for our childrens’ education. We need to set priorities and think of innovative solutions then let them be known to the Board of Education and Flat Rock District administrators.
I plan on being your representative in the hot seat figuring out how to manage through this–so, tell me what you think.