Rockford Superintendent of Schools Michael Shibler

Superintendent sick of ‘lip service’ to education

October 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

“It’s like threatening to tear off your leg, and when they only tear off your foot you are supposed to feel good about it,” said Rockford Superintendent of Schools Michael Shibler. He referred to last week’s per-student funding cut of $165, passed by the legislature Thursday evening and signed by the governor Friday. Shibler said that Rockford already implemented $2.1 million in cuts in anticipation of the funding freeze districts across the state were expecting. In last week’s Squire, Shibler said an earlier proposed $218 cut per student would be catastrophic for our state’s education system. “The spin lawmakers are putting on this is that we only cut $165. It could have been $218,” he said. Shibler said the cut comes three months into the district’s fiscal year, which runs June to July. “It will have to be personnel and programs,” he said of an additional $1.7 million he is now forced to trim from the district’s budget. Shibler said he and financial analysts, such as those at the University of Michigan and the Citizen’s Research Council have been saying for years that school funding is flawed. “There is a structural deficit in the School Aid Fund. You don’t save it by making cuts,” he stated. “The state legislature has come up with one-time fixes year after year to get schools money. It’s over. There are no more one-time fixes.” Shibler praised Rockford Representative Tom Pearce, who was one of very few who did not vote for the cuts. Pearce explained his stance. “I still feel there are sources within our current revenues that this could be done without needing to raise any new taxes or fees for this school year. I also feel that if we are going to make any cut to the School Aid budget it needs to be accompanied by cost saving reforms,” Pearce said. “The reason I was unable to support the final package is because it represented cuts without the reforms I felt should be there.” Senator Mark Jansen voted for the cuts. He said many districts took an earlier proposal of $110 per student cut that did not pass and built their budgets with that in mind. He also said the difference between the proposed $218 cut and […]