Reps. Smiley, Oakes Oppose Continued School Funding Cuts

Education budget would leave current year funding cuts in place
Monday, May 7, 2012

BURTON - State Representative Charles Smiley (D-Burton) and his guest, State Representative Stacy Erwin Oakes (D-Saginaw), held a press today and called on Gov. Rick Snyder and Legislative Republicans to restore schools funding to the proposed Republican-backed education budget instead of allowing last year’s nearly a billion dollar raid of education funds to stand. The proposed budget does not increase the per pupil foundation allowance which was cut $470 per pupil in the current fiscal year budget. Bendle School District Superintendent John Krolewski also was on hand to discuss what funding decreases have meant for local classrooms.

“Classrooms across the state have lost millions of dollars, and that puts the futures of kids and our state at risk,â? said Smiley. âOur kids must now try to learn in packed classrooms and without adequate books and equipment. Economic recovery in our state depends on properly training the next generation of scientists, entrepreneurs, educators, artists and public servants. By refusing to put any more money into our classrooms, the Republican-sponsored budget fails to make this next generation a priority. Without funding increases, educators will not be able to prepare our kids for success in college and the workforce.â?

The proposed budget offers no increase in the per pupil foundation allowance, so approving it means schools still have to live with the $470 per pupil cut from this year’s budget. The proposed budget also pits schools against each other competing for small increases if they meet vaguely defined “best practices” - such as maintaining an online dashboard - which do nothing to improve classroom instruction or provide more resources for students. In reality, the total recommended expenditures for schools decline from Fiscal Year 2012 to Fiscal Year 2013 and decline again in Fiscal Year 2014 making the budget a net loss, and the School Aid foundation allowance for schools will actually be at its lowest level since 2006.

“This education budget is sadly more of the same for Legislative Republicans,” said Erwin Oakes. “Last year’s cuts were devastating to local classrooms, forcing parents and educators to make tough choices that ultimately compromised the quality of education our kids received. Unless the Republicans listen to our parents, students and educators our state will continue to see a decline in the effectiveness of our local schools. We risk losing a generation of students all because Republicans refuse to properly invest in their education and our state’s future.”

The proposed school budget compounds the losses for the Bendle School District and the Saginaw City School District. So far the Bendle School District has lost as much as $65,068, and the Saginaw City School District has lost as much as $2,037,745.

For a district specific break down of education cuts go to the House Democrats “Fight School Cuts” website atwww.FightSchoolCuts.com.