Michigan schools are underfunded


This letter was sent to Governor Rick Snyder, Senator Tom Casperson and Representative Ed McBroom.

Dear sirs,

You are underfunding Michigan schools. It was not supposed to be this way when Proposition A passed in 1994. The purpose of Proposition A was to equal educational opportunity by raising funding for school districts that were under funded. The state sales tax was increased by 50 percent, from 4 percent to 6 percent, with the additional revenue targeted for K – 12. The state became the primary funding source for local school districts. Proposition A made it illegal for local schools to raise money for operations. Local school districts were to be supported on a per pupil basis.

It was not the purpose of Proposition A to balance the state budget on the backs of schoolchildren. Since 2003 funding to districts K-12 has been reduced because the number of students have been reduced. You can hardly be blamed for the birth rate, but your policy is also responsible for the squeeze on school districts and you are responsible for policy. In 2011 you funded a corporate tax reduction by holding back about $600,000,000.00 from school funding.

Adjusted for the drop in enrollment and inflation, per pupil funding dropped 24.5 percent between 2002 and 2011, $2,643/pupil. Had the state continued to pay the same share of per person income, funding would have increased $1,589, over $4,000 more annual investment in our children than today. “An Open Letter to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder” by David Arsen, profeessor of K -12 education and economist, edwp.educ.msu.edu/new-educator/2013/ faculty-viewpoint/.

Governor Snyder believes average class sizes of 17, 8 to 1 faculty student ratio, no online classes, and paying more than $20,000/year to educate students. He sent his children to school at Greenhills School which possesses these qualities.The governor sends his children to schools with these standards. You cannot provide first class schools to all Michigan children, but you should not be taking resources from them and they are our most important resource.

You recent increased the funding by $60 per student. Only $2,583 more and you will be keeping faith with the intent and promise of Proposal A.

Richard Clark