New website shows impact Snyder’s education cuts has on every school district

Kids not CEOs

Thanks to a new online tool unveiled yesterday, parents, educators, teachers, school staff and policymakers can now see exactly how much Gov. Rick Snyder’s school cuts have hurt students in every school district across the state. Since Snyder became governor in 2011, his education cuts have impacted classroom sizes, courses and programs, staffing, and basic school supplies.

Despite Snyder’s proposed 2014-15 budget increase of an average of $111 per pupil, the new website, www.kidsnotceos.com shows that every Michigan child will still be hurt. The shortfall ranges from $129 per pupil in many districts to a high of $770 per pupil in Wayne-Westland schools. But big corporations are still enjoying Snyder’s billions of dollars in tax breaks while classrooms suffer from a lack of vital resources.

“Every Michigan parent, teacher and citizen concerned about the future of our children should go to www.kidsnotceos.com to see the facts for themselves,” said Okemos High School math teacher Lisa Crites. “Gov. Snyder’s fuzzy math shortchanges Michigan children and robs them of the chance to learn and succeed.”

In Okemos, class sizes have almost doubled and staff positions have been lost. The result is students losing out on needed individualized attention from teachers. And since budgets are tight, the district can no longer afford to purchase supplies, so Crites has spent more than $1,400 out of her own pocket to provide resources her students need.

David Myron, a Perry High School teacher, said his school district operated in the black until a $470 per-pupil cut during Gov. Snyder’s first year in office put the district in deficit and on a deficit elimination plan. In Perry, more than 46 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunches and they are being impacted the most.

“If Gov. Snyder is serious about making our children’s education a priority, we urge him to fully fund our schools. We cannot cut our way out of the hole he has put us in, and children are the ones who will ultimately pay the price,” Myron said.

In Waverly Community Schools, the cuts to education funding have significantly reduced critical educational services for children in reading, math and special education programs.

“Michigan’s public schools should be places where all children have an opportunity to get a good education that can help them succeed and compete for jobs. We need to reverse the trend among politicians of taking money away from our children,” said Gini Larson, a fourth grade Waverly teacher.

To find out how your school district is being impacted by Gov. Snyder’s education cuts, go to www.kidsnotceos.com, click on the dropdown bar, and select your district. The results can also be printed as a handout page.

The data used is publicly available through the State Aid Status Report, House Fiscal Agency and Gov. Snyder’s own executive recommendation.

“This new website is a powerful tool,” said MEA President Steven Cook. “The information is factual and it gives context to the challenges every Michigan school district is facing. Our children are being shortchanged and we need to hold elected leaders accountable.”