School leaders react to Snyder’s budget proposal


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

School leaders react to Snyder’s budget proposal

LANSING – Superintendents from across Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties remain concerned with Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal because it continues to create winners and losers amongst the state’s K-12 student population. Bright spots for the school leaders include continued stability in retirement costs to local districts and additional support for at-risk students.

“Too many Michigan students live in poverty and Gov. Snyder’s budget will help make sure a quality education is more attainable for low-income children by increasing funding for at-risk students,” said Robert D. Livernois, superintendent, Warren Consolidated Schools. “One of the greatest challenges in education today is how to tackle the crisis of childhood poverty and help kids from low-income families succeed in the classroom and beyond.”

Despite an improving economy, nearly half of Michigan public school students live in low-income households. A ranking by Kids Count lists Michigan as one of the worst states in the nation when it comes to childhood poverty, ranking near Alabama and Mississippi.

“Because of the inconsistent practice of funding incentive grants from year to year, several school districts will be facing cuts next year because this budget picks winners and losers,” said Randy Liepa, superintendent, Livonia Public Schools. “In order to educate our kids and plan ahead, schools need predictability—not this type of instable funding that changes year to year—especially with dollars available in this year’s School Aid Fund. We look forward to working with the Legislature as they begin this conversation.”

Before 2009-10, School Aid Fund money was used only for K-12 education. Since then, more and more School Aid Fund money has been diverted to pay for universities, community colleges and a host of other expenses previously covered by the General Fund. Today’s Executive Order furthers this practice even more by using hundreds of millions more in funding meant for kids in classrooms to plug a General Fund hole created by years of corporate tax giveaways.

“This executive order and budget underscore the exact reason why superintendents from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties are supporting the Safe Roads Yes! ballot proposal,” said Mark A. Burton, Executive Director, Tri-County Alliance for Public Education. “Safe Roads Yes! will stop politicians from raiding education dollars and guarantee that every penny from the School Aid Fund is spent on education where it helps our kids the most: K-12 and community colleges.”