Education Leaders Applaud Increases for K-12; Urge Lawmakers to Protect Dedicated School Funding
The leaders of Michigan’s top education organizations that represent school districts’ leaders and decision-makers today applauded Gov. Snyder’s proposed budget that would pump an additional $325 million into K-12 funding and urged policymakers to protect a secure and reliable funding stream for the School Aid Fund.
“Investment in public education is the smart way to go as we work toward making Michigan a top 10 state for public education,” said Don Wotruba, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Boards. “This proposal for increasing education funding will benefit our students, our educators, our business community and the future of our state. We plan to work with the Legislature to help make sure this proposal gets all the way through the budget process.”
The executive directors of the Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, Michigan Association of School Boards and Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals earlier this week urged Snyder and the Michigan Legislature to increase investment in public education after the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference showed the School Aid Fund would grow by about $338 million.
“Today’s news is good for Michigan schools, and I sincerely hope this is the start of a new trend in Lansing,” said Chris Wigent, executive director of the Michigan Association of School Administrators. “Our schools need steady, secure and reliable funding, and that’s what they get from the School Aid Fund. The governor and the Legislature must remember that and work to protect the SAF from any attempts to raid it in the future.”
Education groups were on guard after the governor proposed a “technical fix” for the income tax during the 2016 lame duck session. That plan would have diverted $430 million from the School Aid Fund, resulting in a cut of nearly $280 per pupil statewide, with no proposed plan to make up for the shortfall.
“The Governor’s budget recommendation shows that he understands the increasing cost of running our secondary schools and we applaud his proposed foundation increase, particularly for high school students,” said Wendy Zdeb, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. “Today’s high schools do more than offer a diploma. Our students need opportunities to earn college credit, access to career and technical education, and high-quality college and career counseling. Most importantly, they need the best teachers, which is why the Governor’s continued support of educator evaluation training is so critical to student success.”
“Sound investment in programs like career technical education and infrastructure improvements will prepare our students to be leaders in the 21st century,” said Bill Miller, executive director of the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators. “Michigan has an ambitious goal of becoming a top 10 state for public education in 10 years, and this proposal will help advance us toward that goal.”