FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Educators Applaud Passage of School Aid Budget But Call for Big Changes in Next Year’s Discussions
Enough of ‘Good Enough’ School Aid Budgets
Lansing – As work completed this week on the FY18-19 school aid budget, the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (TCA) is preparing for next year’s budget discussions by pushing for conversations about Michigan’s broken school funding formula and the School Finance Research Collaborative’s recommendations for how to make broad changes for the better beginning in next year’s budget.
Dr. George Heitsch, TCA President & Superintendent of Farmington Public Schools said that the budget passed today by the Michigan Legislature contains welcomed increases in funding, but doesn’t take the necessary steps to solve the underlying problems in Michigan’s school funding formula that have made it increasingly difficult for our state’s public schools to provide the educational opportunities that our students need and deserve.
“I appreciate the legislature upholding their commitment to increasing funding for K-12 schools this year, but the reality remains that putting more money into a broken funding formula isn’t going to achieve the results that all of us want for our students across Michigan,” said Dr. Heitsch. “As leaders in the education community, my colleagues and I are engaging in discussions with the business community, elected officials and parents across Michigan to make sure this is the last year in which we applaud a budget that’s only good enough and are ready to work together to enact a budget next year that we can all agree puts Michigan’s schools on the right path forward.”
The School Finance Research Collaborative’s final report, put together by a nonpartisan group of business, education and government leaders, showed that the formula being used to calculate school funding no longer matches the increasingly costly programs that many of our schools are required to offer including English as a second language and special education programs. TCA members will be holding a series of talks about the collaborative’s findings throughout the year and are encouraging legislators to better understand how we can ensure each and every school is adequately funded and able to provide their students with the learning environment they need.
“The funding in this year’s budget will allow schools to maintain the majority of their existing programs and maintains our ability to make the best decisions for our districts ourselves, but the reality is that funding for many districts will still remain nearly unchanged from 2007 levels,” added Mark Greathead, TCA Vice-President and Superintendent of the Woodhaven-Brownstown School District. “If we want Michigan to be a state that can attract top-level employers, then we have to stop settling for the status-quo and give our schools the necessary tools to create the learning environments our students deserve and the talent these employers are looking for.”
More information about the School Finance Research Collaborative, including a copy of the group’s final report highlighting the need to rethink Michigan’s school funding formula from the ground up, is available online at www.fundmischools.org.
The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education is a coalition of education leaders committed to fighting for strong K-12 schools across Michigan. Comprised of Superintendents from every district in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, they are collectively responsible for educating over 500,000 students (over 30 percent of the statewide K-12 population).