FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Tri-County Alliance for Public Education Encourages Legislature to Make FY2019 Budget the Final Year of ‘Status Quo Budgeting’ for Schools
Increased Funding Welcomed, But School Aid Budget Doesn’t Solve Larger Problems
Lansing – The Tri-County Alliance for Public Education (TCA) welcomed the increased funding for K-12 schools proposed in the school aid budget released today by the Michigan Senate, but cautioned that it does little to solve the significant structural problems in the budget that have made it increasingly difficult for Michigan’s public schools to provide the educational opportunities that our students need and deserve. Dr. Russell Pickell, Superintendent of Riverview Schools, encouraged the legislature to learn more about the School Finance Research Collaborative Report and its recommendations for how we change Michigan’s broken school funding formula for the better.
“I appreciate the hard work that goes into balancing Michigan’s budget and applaud the Senate leadership for committing more dollars for Michigan’s K-12 schools this year, but the reality is putting more money into a broken funding formula doesn’t solve the problem,” said Dr. Pickell. “I hope to work with legislators throughout the year to discuss the findings of the School Finance Research Collaborative and make this current budget process the last one in which Michigan accepts the status quo when it comes to our schools and our kids.”
The recently released School Finance Research Collaborative report 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“The School Finance Research Collaborative made it clear that we can’t continue down this same, outdated funding path and somehow expect our schools to show the types of improvement that parents are asking for,” added Dr. David Richards, Superintendent of Fraser Schools. “The increased funding being proposed in this year’s budget will allow schools to maintain the majority of their existing programs, but the reality is that funding for many districts will still remain nearly unchanged from 2007 levels. It will take a bold, new approach to truly create the 21st century learning environment our students deserve and my hope is that Michigan will embrace that ideal in next year’s budget process.”
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).