EDUCATION BLACKBOARD

SCHOOL BEAT

Rockford Public Schools state funding: past, present, future 

by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Rockford Public Schools

Michael S. Shibler, Ph.D.

During the past several months, I have been asked by many parents and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) employees to clarify what the “real” state revenue cuts to our schools were as compared to what they are being told by state lawmakers.

Governor Snyder and some of our legislators have been proclaiming that public schools have only experienced a 1.4% cut in state funding. If that were the case, I would not be writing this clarification. I ask that you read the information below and decide for yourself.

1.            During the 2008-09 school year, RPS received $7,316 per child from the State in the form of a foundation allowance.

2.            Prior to the end of June 2011, the governor and state legislature agreed to cut our funding $470 per child. That would bring RPS’ state funding per child to $6,846. However, the final 2011-12 School Aid Bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor added back $200 per child on a ONE-TIME basis if we qualified, which we do. Therefore, our 2011-12 state foundation allowance per child is $7,046 ($7,316 – $470 + $200). That represents a $270 cut in funding per child. If my math is correct, that is a 3.69% reduction in state funding, not 1.4%.

3.            Beginning July 1, 2012, the state funding reduction per child continues according to the June 2011 School Aid Bill passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. The $200 one-time add-on disappears, and RPS’ 2012-13 funding drops back to $6,846 per child. That represents another 2.9% reduction in state funding. Again, if my math is correct, Rockford’s state funding per child in 2012-13 will drop 6.42% since the 2010-11 school year ($7,316 – $470 = $6,846).

4.            Why is this happening? Since 1994, after Proposal A was passed by Michigan voters and legislated, revenue raised by Proposal A went into the School Aid Fund (SAF) to fund K-12 public school districts and public charter schools, as was the intent of the authors of Proposal A—not to higher education. Beginning with the 2010-11 school year, the governor and state legislature began allocating revenues collected for K-12 public schools to community colleges and public universities while cutting revenues to K-12 public schools.

I ask you to decide the fairness of these actions. Whatever your opinion is on this issue, I encourage you to contact your elected state lawmakers using the following e-mail addresses:

•            Governor Rick Snyder—rick.snyder@michigan.gov

•            Senator Mark Jansen (28th District)—senmjansen@senate.michigan.gov

•            Representative Peter MacGregor (73rd District)—petermacgregor@house.mi.gov

As always, if you have questions or concerns, please contact me at (616) 863-6557 or mshibler@rockfordschools.org. Thank you.

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