Superintendent's Notes

Keep K-12 school aid funding for K-12

JohnSeverson_2011-12_SmallHere we go again. What may seem like good news for schools coming from yesterday’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC), may in fact prompt another blow to public school funding. Results indicated that compared to January’s estimates, revenue for the School Aid Fund (SAF) is up  by $340 million and down for the General Fund (GF) by $293 million.

Historically when this happens, one of two things occur: more college and university funding is taken out of the School Aid Fund, or the legislature simply reduces its General Fund contribution to the School Aid Fund. This year there is yet another threat: lawmakers may choose to hold some of the growth in the School Aid Fund to fund increased costs relating to potential MPSERS reform.

Any of these moves would cost our K-12 public schools funds they simply cannot afford to lose. Meanwhile school districts in this state have record low fund balances, new third grade reading law requirements, and student needs that are going unmet because there aren’t the resources to provide additional support.

As advocates for our children, we need to keep pushing the conversation to exclude community colleges and universities from the School Aid Fund. Budget proposals moving through the legislative process already allocate $630 million for higher education – an amount that equates to $420 per pupil. The voters were clear in 1993 when Proposal A was passed that it was to be used for K-12 education. Unfortunately, that proposal did not make a constitutional change which means Lansing can still skate around that commitment.

Please take the time today to contact our legislators and tell them to use the additional funds in the School Aid Fund for K-12 purposes. Our kids are counting on us to speak up for their future.

 


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Dr. John Severson
Muskegon Area ISD Superintendent