I finally got an answer from Michelle McManus. It is not very edifying. In fact the third paragraph contradicts the fourth paragraph (School funding stayed the same from 1995 to 1999 which is not the same as "a steady yearly increase"). Any way, here it is:
Thank you for contacting me recently concerning education funding in Michigan. I appreciated hearing from you again on this important issue.
As you know, the State of Michigan is once again facing a large budget shortfall. We in the Legislature will face many difficult decisions as we seek to balance the State’s budget and ensure we maintain a fiscally responsible state government. We must reach innovative solutions to deal with the situation. As you are aware, a significant portion of education funding comes from sales tax. Therefore, it is essential we improve Michigan's economy so more resources are available for education.
In facing a budget shortfall, there has been much discussion about the funding of Michigan schools. I have even heard it mis-stated that, "Education funding is at an all time low." In fact, education funding is at an all time high in our state. In Fiscal Year 1994-95, following the passage of Proposal A, education funding increased by 102.35%. Since that time we have seen a steady yearly increase in funding to schools in excess of inflation.
Section 20(j) was added to the State School Aid Act in 1999 and provided a supplemental payment to "out of formula" districts, those receiving higher than the base state foundation grant as a result of the provisions of Proposal A. In 1999, the state increased the base grant from $6,300 per student to $6,500 per student. Under the statute prior to the adoption of Section 20(j), those out of formula districts would receive no funding increase, thus 20(j) was introduced to address this situation.
While Proposal A has done much to increase funding for those districts that had the least, there is still much that can be done to reach a higher degree of equity between districts. None the less, I feel that Proposal A has proven itself to be a champion to Michigan Schools, despite any financial challenges we currently face.
If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit www.senate.michigan.gov/gop/education for further information on education funding.
Once again, thank you for writing. If I can be of future assistance in any matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Michelle A. McManus
State Senator-35th District
She didn't promise to take a leadership role, or to do anything, for that matter.
I'm starting to see some hopeful signs on the school funding front, and I'll try to write sbout them in the next few days. Today I'm spending my last hour before work at the beach.