It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
State Budget for Schools Needed Now
Posted: Oct 5, 2009 06:12 PM
If state lawmakers don't pass a new school aid budget bill by Saturday, some schools could face payless paydays. Legislators rejected a plan last week to cut 218-dollars for every student in Michigan, but it's unclear what they will do about that this week.
VenKat Saripalli, CFO Lansing: "If the cash runs out, we have to shut down. Not there yet, but we will be very, very quickly if the state budget is not passed."
So what are the chances the school aid budget will pass this week? Lawmakers have until October 10th, this Saturday, to raise new revenue for the schools or pass a continuation budget which continues funding at last years rate minus that. Is it possible to have payless paydays?
Stanley Kogut Jr., Ingham ISD Superintendent: "Certainly that's one of the potentials, probably not immediately, but that is a potential down the line at some point in time. Districts have to fund what they do and pay their bills, so ultimately, if they can't pay their bills, things like that could happen."
In late July 1993, in lightning-like fashion, the Michigan legislature eliminated entirely the local property tax as a source of operating revenue for the public schools--and it did so without making any provisions whatsoever for replacing the $6.5 billion lost as a consequence
Proposal A placed the burden on the state to provide adequate revenue for core academic curriculum and achieving school accreditation. In 1993, the state contributed only 32 percent of total school funding—placing Michigan 48th among the 50 states. This meant that two-thirds of K-12 revenue had to be generated locally, hence the heavy property tax burden and the high variations in spending among districts. Under the new system, the state provides about 80 percent of the total cost, moving Michigan up to second among the states.
Another byproduct of Proposal A is that it subjected school funding to fluctuations in the state's economy. The shift in taxation from local property taxes to the state sales tax ties public school funding to the state's economy. The booming economy of the 1990s allowed for significant annual increases in public school funding. But the long-term impact of this tax shift is just beginning to be understood as we enter our first real economic downturn.
Establishing an effective accountability system for student testing is challenge enough for incoming Education Secretary Roderick Paige, but his more immediate challenge is to address charges of financial mismanagement at the agency that arose under the previous administration.
Representative Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) has frequently cited incidents of mismanagement in the department, and a recent investigation by an independent federal watchdog agency echoes his concerns.
A department employee, John Gard, alleged the Education Department failed to properly account for billions of grant dollars because of inadequate controls and incomplete audit trails. After an investigation, the Office of Special Counsel confirmed Gard's charges that the department "failed to account for billions of taxpayer dollars" and said the agency "was plagued by mismanagement issues."
Tuesday October 14, 2008, 5:04 AM
WYOMING -- Despite more than two dozen people urging them to find another way, the Godwin Heights Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved cutting $800,000 from its budget -- the amount the state withheld in July after an audit showed the district received funding for 200 more alternative education students last year than it could legitimately claim.
The board's action means at least a dozen positions will be cut.
But there's more. Despite an enrollment hit sure to follow the impending closure of the 36th Street General Motors plant, Superintendent Valdis Gailitis said Godwin Heights also will raid its savings to repay by July 2009 state funding received on the basis of those inflated alternative education counts the previous two years.
Total cost of the paybacks will be $1.5 to $2.2 million, depending on which formula the state uses for part-time students, said Scott Powers, a new business manager the district is sharing with Wyoming Public Schools.
Despite a plan to keep cuts away from classrooms, many parents and grandparents who addressed the board complained only cuts from administration could accomplish that goal. Only low-participation classes and programs are being eliminated, Gailitis said.
"I am severely disappointed in the board," said Karen Hoezee, a Godwin parent and instructional assistant who doesn't know whether her position will be eliminated at the Godwin Learning Center. "Once again, they have voted cuts from students."
According to calculations based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and figures from the Michigan Civil Service Commission, Michigan’s state and local government full-time employees are getting $5.7 billion more in benefits than they would if their benefits were equal to those of private-sector employees.
According to the BLS, Michigan’s private sector has shed 12.1 percent of its jobs since 2000. The number of jobs lost — 484,200 — is about the size of the total employment in Rhode Island. But the blows to Michigan’s public sector were much lighter. Local government employment dropped 6.1 percent, while the state government and state enterprises like universities actually expanded its workforce.
At the same time, the state disproportionately increased its pay rate. Since 2001, average annual pay for state government workers has increased by 26 percent and 20 percent for local government workers, compared to 15 percent for Michigan’s private sector.
Lawmakers Voting on Tax Hikes
Posted: Oct 6, 2009 05:10 PM
One of the proposals is to freeze the inflationary increase on the personal income tax exemption. The anti-tax tea partly lobbyists where among those working lawmakers to vote no. The speaker and governor also want to extent bar hours from 2 to 4am and impose a new physician tax to pay for health care for the needy.
More at Link...
As Obama Advocates Longer School Year, Teachers' Unions Push for Shorter Weeks
President Obama is pushing for more hours in school, but some of his staunchest supporters are moving in the other direction -- seeking to adopt four-day school weeks as a way to avoid pay cuts and firings in the face of crumbling state budgets.
"I was really shocked, going 'What are they thinking. Are they insane'?" said Kristie Charron, an elementary school parent. "How are they (the students) going to learn?"
"As a parent I just didn't think it could happen. We thought we were protected by federal laws," said Debbie Schatz, co-president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at Aikahi Elementary School.