FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
LANSING – Superintendents from across Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties today applauded Gov. Rick Snyder for using the statewide megaphone of his State of the State address to tackle the most pressing challenges facing Michigan kids and schools: adequate funds for classrooms and childhood poverty. The superintendents also renewed their support for a May ballot proposal to fix Michigan’s roads and raise funds for schools.
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.
“Too many Michigan children are living with the challenge of trying to learn in the classroom after not being able to feed themselves or stay warm in cold temperatures,” said David Richards, superintendent of Fraser Public Schools. “We are hopeful that through the consolidating of the Departments of Human Services and Community Health, Governor Snyder and the State can more aggressively tackle childhood poverty and make a quality education more attainable for all children. This is especially important during the early childhood education years.
After years of funding cuts, dozens of districts across the state are on the brink of financial collapse. Snyder and the Michigan Legislature approved a plan to put a ballot issue in the May 5 election that could restore hundreds of millions of dollars to Michigan classrooms. Nevertheless, school leaders said Snyder’s leadership and commitment to adequately funding Michigan classrooms can help provide certainty for public schools across the state.
“We commend Gov. Snyder for recognizing the real challenges that we see on the frontlines of education and highlighting the need to pass the May ballot proposal,” said Randy Liepa, superintendent of Livonia Public Schools. “Safe, well-maintained roads benefit everyone in Michigan, including the students, parents and staff in our communities. We support the ballot proposal which will fix Michigan’s crumbling roads and bridges and help move our state forward.”
“The Governor is absolutely right – reading and education in general should not be political – it should be about what works,” said Vickie Markavitch, superintendent of Oakland Schools. “I applaud the Governor’s focus on the developmental aspects of reading. When Gov. Snyder brings together his proposed commission on reading, I encourage him to have experts from the field participate in crafting Michigan’s effort to improve reading proficiency for all kids in the state.”