Thursday, April 14, 2005

School funding links

Today is a 12 hour day for me so I will give you some links to articles on school funding and the State of Michigan's budget situation:

April 10th interview with Bill Price, of EMU's college of education lays out some of the reasons for school funding shortfalls. He points out that the $175 proposed raise in the per pupil grant is only enough to cover inflation.

This April 10 article from the Oakland Press describes the Catch-22 that the state finds itself in. Michigan is 50th out of 50 among the states in recovering from the last recession. Good schools are critical to the goal of attracting new business to invest in the state, yet the weak economy cannot generate the sales taxes that are supposed to fund schools under Proposal A. But Failure to educate is ultimately costly to the state's budget. "If we're willing to spend $30,000 to put someone in prison, we ought to be willing to spend at least $8,000 a year to put a kid in a quality school," said Brian Whiston, director of legislative affairs for Oakland Schools.

Finally an April 7th article from the Grand Rapids Press. The bleak title says it all: State Slips to 16th in School Funding! Incredibly, the state of Michigan managed to slide from sixth in the nation to 16th in just seven years. The situation is actually worse in many districts, including most of Leelanau County, because the state average is skewed by much larger per pupil grants in the school districts of suburban Detroit. From the article:

Grand Rapids gets $6,782 per student in state aid. If ranked with the per-pupil spending by states, the city schools would be 38th, between Louisiana and Kentucky.

But Grand Rapids Board of Education member Rhonda Grochowalski said she's angry because some southeastern Michigan districts would rank with high-spending New Jersey and New York.

"That's proof that our system needs fixing," she said. "Why are my students worth any less than kids in Bloomfield?"

That's all for today or I will punch in late. This working for a living really cuts into my lifestyle.......

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