Monday, May 02, 2005

A letter to Our State Senator

Here is the letter. Don't forget to send in your own. There are some tips here.

Dear Senator McManus,

I have been following school funding for years, but in the last year I have become more and more perplexed. When we approved Proposal A in 1994, it was supposed to switch most school funding from local property taxes to state sales taxes, ensuring that there would be adequate funding for Michigan’s public schools. Yet funding for public schools is less secure than ever. Costs go up but the per pupil grant changes little, if at all. School systems are cutting programs, laying off teachers, even closing whole schools.

I had the opportunity last week to attend a presentation by the Northern Michigan Schools Legislative Association called “Restore the Promise of Proposal A”. They presented evidence that our schools’ financial woes are not the result of high insurance and pension costs, are not the result of an economic slump, but are the result of a series of “tweaks” to Proposal A enacted by the state legislature since the bill’s passage. I was shocked to hear their prediction that all Michigan Public Schools will be in financial crisis within 2-3 years, because of the structural problems in the “tweaked” Proposal A.

There is no doubt that if there was a massive failure of Michigan’s public school system, the populace would demand that the system be fixed. But I don’t think we can afford to let our public schools close down, even for a year or two. It would be disastrous for our kids, our communities, and our state’s reputation.

You can look at much of the same information that I heard last week at Restore Proposal A. Please let me know how and when we might expect you and your colleagues to act to ensure the future of Michigan’s public school funding.


Susan Och

French Road Connections

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