School Funding Crisis
Michelle Pugh

Auburn Hills, MI

#1 May 8, 2007
Thirteen years ago, voters agreed to shift responsibility for funding school operations to the state legislature. As a result, school funding in Michigan is more than $350 million in debt. Currently, the legislature is debating taking back up to $224 per student in state funding for 2006/2007 - funding that has already been budgeted. This could result in the loss of millions of dollars per district this school year alone! How can our legislators even propose a cut to funding to schools when there is so much other "pork" on the table?!

What could cuts mean for our children and their education?
• Increased class sizes
• Safety/disciplinary issues as a result of funding cuts to security/personnel
• Reduced preschool, Kindergarten, after-school, and community education programs
• Decreased schedules and course offerings (music, art, strings, band, foreign language, etc.)
• Changes to athletics (i.e. eliminating certain sports or going to “pay to play” system, etc.)
• Difficulty ensuring students meet state mandated graduation requirements (i.e. Algebra 2)
• Less opportunities to participate in academic and advanced placement programs
• Inability to replenish needed textbooks and supplies
• Reduced opportunities for employment upon graduation

Our elected officials are not focusing on or working to address the state's budget crisis….particularly education. I recently traveled to the State Capitol with a group of concerned citizens to meet with the legislators. There should be no doubt that our children's education, safety, and futures are being jeopardized because our “leaders” in Lansing refuse to work together.

I am confident that the key to improving Michigan's economy and ensuring our children are equipped to compete in the evolving global economy must include a stable funding plan for our schools. A well educated work force will make a difference to our community and our state. We only have a short period of time. If the legislature and the Governor do not come to an agreement by the end of May, millions of dollars will be taken back from our children and drastic cuts will have to be made. Be assured – classrooms will be affected! Please contact your local legislators and Governor Granholm as soon as possible to voice your opinion on this very important issue – our children and their education!

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