Michigan Parents for Schools | Legislative Action Center

Parents working to support our schools

In 2007, we saw the bottom drop out of the School Aid Fund as sales tax collections tanked. In 2008, the Great Recession would have decimated K-12 funding had it not been for Federal stimulus money. In the years since, we have seen disorder on Wall Street threaten our schools by pushing the costs of the state school retirement system through the roof. And through all this, spending on K-12 education didn’t even keep up with the growth in the state economy – in good times or bad.

On Tuesday, the state’s top economists informed us that state tax revenues would be lower than expected. Sales tax revenues, the biggest contributor to school aid, are slowing, and the corporate income tax will be smaller than the rebates handed out to large businesses. This is happening even though the state economy is growing, manufacturing and employment are up, and incomes are up. (The sales tax doesn’t cover services, which is where the growth is, and gas prices are down.) State tax revenues represent the smallest share of the state economy in decades, almost $10 billion below the Headlee limit.

For school aid, the decline worked out to $64 million less than expected for the current budget year, and almost $84 million less than expected for next year. That’s bad news, since the “generous” budget proposals for this election year depended on using leftover balances to help pay for the $60-$120 per pupil increase next year. Now that balance will be a lot smaller, and the proposals now sitting in the Legislature would actually leave the School Aid Fund over $40 million short – so “adjustments” need to be made. You know what that means.

So what will be adjusted downward? We have some candidates. How about the millions earmarked by the House and Senate to “reimburse” private schools for things like background checks, keeping vaccine records, and fire drills? Or maybe the odd little grants to lawmakers’ pet organizations for programs no one asked for? The hole in the general state budget is even larger, so that can’t come to the rescue. What game shall we play today?

It’s past time to get off the roller coaster. For years, we have shoehorned our children’s education into whatever funding bucket we were handed. Not only were our schools not protected from tremors centered far away, but our lawmakers have consistently moved to shrink the size of the bucket through tax policy choices. School funding hasn’t kept up with the state economy in over a decade – even in the bad years.

Instead of letting our schools be at the mercy of what happens on Wall Street, or to gas prices – or overheated campaign promises – we should make sure our schools have what they need to get the job done. We need to commit to providing a quality education for every child in Michigan, and our elected officials need to make that happen. It is well past time.

Use the link at the top right of this email to let Lansing know what you think! No more roller coasters. We need to provide stable and sufficient funding for our public schools!

Steve Norton
MI Parents for Schools

Source: Michigan Parents for Schools | Legislative Action Center

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Michigan Parents for Schools | Can we get off the roller coaster?

Parents working to support our schools

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Can we get off the budget roller coaster, finally?
Can we get off the roller coaster?

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School Aid Budget meets reality
In 2007, we saw the bottom drop out of the School Aid Fund as sales tax collections tanked. In 2008, the Great Recession would have decimated K-12 funding had it not been for Federal stimulus money. In the years since, we have seen disorder on Wall Street threaten our schools by pushing the costs of the state school retirement system through the roof. And through all this, spending on K-12 education didn’t even keep up with the growth in the state economy – in good times or bad.

On Tuesday, the state’s top economists informed us that state tax revenues would be lower than expected.

Sales tax revenues, the biggest contributor to school aid, are slowing, and the corporate income tax will be smaller than the rebates handed out to large businesses. This is happening even though the state economy is growing, manufacturing and employment are up, and incomes are up. (The sales tax doesn’t cover services, which is where the growth is, and gas prices are down.) State tax revenues represent the smallest share of the state economy in decades, almost $10 billion below the Headlee limit.For school aid, the decline worked out to $64 million less than expected for the current budget year, and almost $84 million less than expected for next year. That’s bad news, since the “generous” budget proposals for this election year depended on using leftover balances to help pay for the $60-$120 per pupil increase next year. Now that balance will be a lot smaller, and the proposals now sitting in the Legislature would actually leave the School Aid Fund over $40 million short – so “adjustments” need to be made. You know what that means.

So what will be adjusted downward? We have some candidates. How about the millions earmarked by the House and Senate to “reimburse” private schools for things like background checks, keeping vaccine records, and fire drills? Or maybe the odd little grants to lawmakers’ pet organizations for programs no one asked for? The hole in the general state budget is even larger, so that can’t come to the rescue. What game shall we play today?

It’s past time to get off the roller coaster. For years, we have shoehorned our children’s education into whatever funding bucket we were handed. Not only were our schools not protected from tremors centered far away, but our lawmakers have consistently moved to shrink the size of the bucket through tax policy choices. School funding hasn’t kept up with the state economy in over a decade – even in the bad years.

Instead of letting our schools be at the mercy of what happens on Wall Street, or to gas prices – or overheated campaign promises – we should make sure our schools have what they need to get the job done. We need to commit to providing a quality education for every child in Michigan, and our elected officials need to make that happen. It is well past time.

Use the link at the top right of this email to let Lansing know what you think! No more roller coasters. We need to provide stable and sufficient funding for our public schools!

Steve Norton
MI Parents for Schools

Source: Michigan Parents for Schools | Can we get off the roller coaster?

Tomorrow’s Leaders: A Reason to Hope | Sojourners

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Since all the political news is terrible and only getting worse, I decided to reflect on something very personal this week — about a great event that happened this weekend.

On Sunday night, I was at a wonderful party. My oldest son Luke is graduating from high school in a few weeks, so there are many things on the calendar: graduation ceremonies and events, Prom, celebrations with family and friends. It’s hard to believe that 17-year-old Luke, like many of his friends, will be going off to college this fall — even harder to imagine him not being upstairs. Since we are all facing these momentous moments, several of us parents had an idea. Let’s invite all the kids who were in kindergarten together, and are now headed for university, to get together again with all of us parents who also go back all those years. Apparently it was a good idea because 21 young people showed up with their moms and dads.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Source: Tomorrow’s Leaders: A Reason to Hope | Sojourners

From Eclectablog:  Michigan corporate tax cut chickens finally come home to roost in GOP’s budget crater 

Cluck, cluck… When Michigan Republicans took control of our legislature in 2010, they, along with our new Republican CEO Governor Rick Snyder, proceeded to enact a sweeping tax cut for corporations. It was all to bring new employers into the state which, in time, would lead to a more robust economy and a rising tide that would lift all boats.

To pay for more than $1 billion in annual tax breaks for businesses, they cut school funding and raised taxes on the middle class and the elderly. Those tax cut chickens have now come home to roost in the budget crater created by the corporate tax giveaway.

As it turns out, the state of Michigan will, for the first time, be handing out more in corporate tax refunds than it is taking in in corporate taxes revenues. That’s right, corporations have now become a taxpayer-funded charity in Michigan:  Michigan corporations will see an overall income tax refund and effectively contribute nothing to the state coffers in 2016, according to …

Source: Michigan corporate tax cut chickens finally come home to roost in GOP’s budget crater | Eclectablog

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog:  A War for Education

A War for Education

Posted by Peter Greene: 18 May 2016 04:32 AM PDT

Those of us who write about education often play the what if game, trying to envision one cool ideal or another, and it’s usually a policy tweak here or a structure kluge there.

But you know what would be cool? If we treated public education like war.

Follow this link to read Peter’s full blog post: CURMUDGUCATION: A War for Education

From the CURMUDGUCATION blog:  Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay!

Posted by Peter Greene – 16 May 2016 12:49 PM PDT

Last week US News, a reliably reformy news outlet, gave some space to Michael Hansen of Brookings Institution, a reliable outlet for bone-headed education analysis, and he used that space to declare that Teaching To the Test Is Okay,

 

thereby preserving Brookings’ record of  getting almost everything about education dead wrong. But stick around, because this article has one of the best closing lines ever.

Follow this link to read Peter’s full post: CURMUDGUCATION: Teaching To the Test Is Not Okay

Larry Davis’ “Stir it up” … At DPS, an emergency manager by another name 

News & Views » Views

Stir it up: At DPS, an emergency manager by another name

by

May 18, 2016

“Apparently Rhodes has confused his moral authority with his legal authority. Or maybe he thinks that if it’s legal, then it’s moral. The Michigan emergency manager law was rejected by state voters, but Gov. Sneaky Rick Snyder used trickery to establish it under a budgetary procedure to get it passed without public input. Apparently the democratic process was too slow and inconvenient. The bottom line is that there is little in the way of moral authority coming from that direction.

Or maybe Rhodes is just playing word games with us. Like when he calls himself a transition manager in order to highlight his stated purpose of returning DPS to the people of Detroit. What’s actually happening is that DPS is being phased out and replaced with a new school district.”

Read the entire op-ed here: Stir it up: At DPS, an emergency manager by another name | Views | Detroit Metro Times

From Eclectablog:When it comes to Flint and Zika, Republicans are determined to do less than the least you possibly should do 

If you follow this blog as closely as you should, you know it’s been more than 229 days since “Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has known about the poisoning of Flint’s drinking water with lead.” Furthermore you know that “During that time, ZERO lead water lines have been removed through the efforts of his administration.”

Eclectablog’s publisher Chris Savage updates this counter daily as a reminder of the stunning ineptitude that has followed the stunning ineptitude of Rick Snyder’s appointed Emergency Manager’s decision to change Flint’s water source, leading to the lead poisoning of the city. Well over half a year too late, we’re finally getting some indication that the state may do the least it should possibly do.

“Will the state of Michigan pay to replace Flint’s lead water pipes?” MIRSnews.com asked on Monday. “When it’s all said and done, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said the answer is yes.”

That would mean lawmakers need to “make $200 to $300 million in negative adjustments to …

Read the rest of the blog post here: On Flint and Zika, Republicans are determined to do less than the least you possibly should do | Eclectablog

From Eclectablog: MI Republicans move makes citizens’ ability much harder to amend the constitution, or put issues on the ballot  

Eclectablog has posted a new item, ‘Michigan Republicans move to make citizens’ ability to amend the constitution or put issues on the ballot much harder’, at Eclectablog.

View the latest post at:
http://www.eclectablog.com/2016/05/michigan-republicans-move-to-make-citizens-ability-to-amend-the-constitution-or-put-issues-on-the-ballot-much-harder.html