Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Senate Cuts Over $400 Million From K-12 Education Budget

Everyone needs to take a good long look at what the Republicans would do to this state if left to their own devices. Today, they voted for a $110 per pupil cut to K-12, an act that the Freep indicated would push "20% of the state's school districts to the brink of deficit, or worse", not to mention the loss of teaching positions. Along with that bit of devastation, they eliminated funding for all early childhood education and other programs that prepare kids for college or vocational work. Here is what the Senate Dems tried to put back:

  • Restore the $110 per pupil funding cut, funding critical to school budgets around the state.
  • Restore 90% of funding for declining enrollment grants to help lessen the devastating impact to school districts of the loss of students.
  • Restore 90% of funding for small high schools with a focus on personal attention and engaging and real-world applicable curriculum.
  • Restore 90% of funding for early childhood programs like school readiness, 0-3 and great start programs.
  • Restore 90% of funding for the Pre-College Engineering Programs.
  • Restore 90% of funding for health science middle college.
  • Uphold essential funding for special education and vocational education.
  • For the Grand Rapids Public Schools, the numbers were added up when this came out of committee last week.

    • A $110 per pupil reduction - represents a loss of approximately $2 million for GRPS
    • Full elimination of the Readiness program (pre school) - a loss of $2.6 million for GRPS
    • Elimination of the declining enrollment categorical - a loss of $450,000 for GRPS
    • Elimination of Section 41/Bilingual categorical - a loss of approximately $200,000 for GRPS
    • Reduction of 10% in the adult ed budget - a loss of approximately $100,000 for GRPS
    I can't imagine what it would mean for Detroit; I'm hoping that the media over there adds it up. It could have been a lot worse; without the stimulus money, the cuts would have been over $400 per pupil.

    These cuts, as well as cuts to childhood health programs in the DCH budget, caused Senator Deb Cherry to resign her position as co-chair of the Michigan Legislative Children’s Caucus. She served in the caucus for six years. THAT'S how serious this is.

    “With frustration and a heavy heart, I regretfully resign as co-chair and a member of the Michigan Legislative Children’s Caucus,” said Sen. Cherry. “Given the callous actions taken by the Senate with so little regard for early childhood education, it is blatantly evident to me that we have not been effective with one of the primary missions of the caucus, which is to educate our colleagues of the importance of early education and the need to fund it.”
    Sounds like the Senate Republicans made the cuts to health care as well today, including the 8% cut to Medicaid which was slammed by health care providers.

    Hoping that someone puts together the complete list of these cuts. The Senate was shooting for $1.2 billion in total, and I believe they have reached that goal. What is really frightening is the lack of reporting on what is happening here. The House will restore what they can, but due to the revenue drop that is occurring (down 13% so far from last year's numbers at this time) - some of this is going to stick.

    Scary stuff. We are disinvesting at a time when the need is the greatest - and even tax increases/loophole closings can't hope to make it all up.