Message on behalf of MEA President Steven Cook
You may be hearing about the “Classrooms and Kids” school funding proposal from your local superintendent. It is purported to put more money into the per-pupil foundation allowance. While it does increase the bottom line for per-pupil spending, the proposal gets its $186 million increase from eliminating a number of categorical aid line items. This includes $22 million from the MPSERS Reserve Fund (a partial reduction) and picking up $34 million from the budget surplus. This is a shift of money and not new money for our schools. The $167 additional increase they are claiming in the per-pupil foundation allowance is just not credible.
This plan was crafted by a number of school management groups. It was put together by the Tri-County Alliance for Public Education, Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Administrators, Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, and Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals; and supported by a number of intermediate school districts throughout the state.
This proposal was developed without ever informing the MEA or AFT-Michigan. The MEA was never consulted or involved in the drafting of this plan, nor has it supported the plan. MEA did not learn of the proposal until the day of their news conference, which came as a complete surprise.
The main problem with this approach is that it really doesn’t increase school funding; it just rearranges the deck chairs. It also appears to benefit the suburban districts and greatly benefit charter schools. It’s just another way of carving up the pie, but the pie doesn’t get any bigger. Some districts get more pie, while others get less. Our position is, and has been, increased funding for education; not a re-hash of the status quo. Don’t be fooled by yet another school funding shell game.