Lawmakers continue to play “shell games” with state money designed to be reserved for Michigan school children. Overnight, the Michigan Legislature raided the state School Aid Fund to cover other priorities, harming school district budgets by further stretching their ability to educate students.
“This diversion of dedicated dollars for schools is counter to every piece of research that tells us we must invest in our schools and our children’s future,” said Ray Telman, Executive Director of the Middle Cities Education Association. “On top of all of the responsibilities and challenges school leaders at the local level face, now they are being forced to pay for the state’s failure to fund our roads. This abrogation of duty by elected lawmakers is disheartening at best.”
The shift permanently offsets new revenue from online sales intended for schools by reducing income tax revenues currently dedicated to the School Aid fund. Lawmakers instead designated these new revenues for the General Fund, a funding vehicle used for general state expenses, such as roads and infrastructure.
By reducing dedicated dollars for Michigan classrooms, lawmakers are purposefully creating additional strain on public schools while holding them accountable for ever-increasing performance expectations, Telman said.
“Schools are used to lawmakers making them do more with less, but this additional reduction will be damaging for dozens of districts across Michigan,” Telman said. “Apparently, the priorities for Michigan’s future aren’t aligned given the disinvestment in schools which only damages Michigan’s ability to compete in the global economy.”
The Middle Cities Education Association is a consortium of more than 27 urban school districts in Michigan, which was formed out of a shared commitment to improving educational opportunities for the urban learner. The unique mission and emphasis of Middle Cities is to serve as an advocate for member districts to ensure quality educational programs for all students.