Public school officials have begun to speak out about the funding crisis which faces schools across the state. They not only decry the repeated resort to mid-year funding cuts, they also call for a reassessment of how public education is funded.
Attached below are links to letters written by two school district superintendents (in PDF format): the first is from Dr. Todd Roberts of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and the second is from Susan Zurvalec of the Farmington Public Schools. These letters clearly convey the frustration that school officials feel when faced with the funding uncertainties built in to Michigan’s system of school funding. They make very compelling reading.
From the Roberts letter:
[U]nless major ongoing changes are made in the way the state operates, the deficit will continue and increase in future years. Simply cutting the budget in a few areas or shuffling money around from fund to fund will not address the ongoing and increasing deficit. Since the passage of Proposal A, 90% of Michigan school districts‚Äô funding comes from the State. This legislation also prohibits school districts from going to the local voters to request additional funding for operating expenses…. The bottom line is that the State has not addressed the deficit nor adequately funded Michigan‚Äôs schools, and has prevented local school districts from raising the funds it needs to operate.
And from the Zurvalec letter:
There is something drastically wrong with a system that provides an increase in school funding, then post election, turns around and takes the funds back mid-year after school districts‚Äô budgets are in place. Mid-year prorations double the whammy on school budgets because programs and staffing are already in place for the school year while compounding the problem for future years. Moreover, at the same time that the state has adopted the most rigorous high school graduation requirements in the nation, it is forcing school districts to dismantle the very programs that support increased student achievement.